Rock defences being considered for Douglas seafront

By Gemma Nettle   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 19th November 2022 5:00 pm
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Rock defences proposed for Douglas Promenade

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Rock defences to absorb the energy of waves on Douglas Promenade are being considered by the government.

The Department of Infrastructure has said the defences would be placed on the shore between Summerland and Summer Hill to ‘protect the highway, reduce overtopping and reduce flood risk’.

This rock armour or revetment involves placing large boulders in front of a cliff or sea wall to absorb the energy of waves, therefore protecting the highway.

Revetment prevents and lessons the damages of coastal erosion.

Compared to seawalls, rock revetment provides an alternative to protecting beaches, homes, and other structures along shorelines. The area between Summer Hill and Summerland is frequently battered with waves during bad weather, causing the DoI to close the section off following most amber weather warnings.

Further down the prom, the sunken gardens have twice in recent memory been flooded, the last time being December 2021 during Storm Barra.

After this came criticism from local MHKs that the multi-million pound revamp of Douglas prom didn’t include a sea wall.

With climate experts predicting sea rises of up to 25cm by the middle of the century – and 77cm by 2100 if emissions aren’t cut – Douglas prom will be much more vulnerable.

The major piece of long-term infrastructure is being shown as part of public displays now available to view at the Sea Terminal and Douglas Town Hall.

Showing work that’s under consideration on Douglas promenade, the displays are a collaborative exercise between the DoI and Douglas Council.

The displays set out different elements that could be completed by both organisations, depending on priorities, budgets and programmes in coming years.

A range of projects is included with the aim of providing an understanding of how the promenades could eventually look, and the scale of what is involved in ‘making the most of the seafront’, according to the government.

DoI projects include building sea walls, replacing railings, creating pedestrian crossings, installing flood gate defences and refurbishing the walkway.

Among other projects outlined is ‘revitalising’ the six marine gardens on Loch Promenade, including a new playground and water feature, a garden and a play garden, as well as more usable public space on Queen’s Promenade gardens. In addition, the area around the War Memorial will be improved and a new seating arrangement with easier access to the walkway installed at the Jubilee Kiosk.

Running horse tram tracks between Broadway and the Sea Terminal is designated on the plan as heritage, in line with Infrastructure Minister Chris Thomas’s intention to hold talks with relevant bodies about funding the tramway.

Mr Thomas said: ‘I’d encourage all Island residents to come and take a look at the displays and what the future of our promenade might be in coming years.

‘Douglas Borough Council and the Department of Infrastructure have worked together to co-ordinate plans to get the most out of our constrained budgets in the public interest.’

Council leader Claire Wells added: ‘Douglas promenades are great places for people to relax, exercise, socialise and enjoy the Green Flag award-winning Marine Gardens.

‘Please do come and see the plans we have to help protect and invest in their future.’

The displays will be available to view at the Sea Terminal and Douglas town hall into the new year.

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