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Plea for seafront flooding summit
A LEADING councillor has called for a battle plan to protect a proposed Southend seafront development from flooding.
Martin Terry, spokesman for Southend Council’s Independent group, wants action to ensure there is sufficient drainage when two key sites in Eastern Esplanade aredeveloped.
A new 80-bedroom Premier Inn and bar will be built on the former gasworks site in Eastern Esplanade after the plan was approved by SouthendCouncil.
There is also a separate plan for a new hotel, restaurant, shops, flats and affordable homes on the neighbouring Esplanade House site, which is half demolished.
However, about 15 houses in nearby Victoria Road were inundated with sewage during August’s floods after the pumping system in the Victoria Gardens Estate failed.
Mr Terry, who lives in Victoria Road and founded the Gasworks Site Residents’ Action Group before becoming a councillor, wantsa summit with council bosses and water companies to discuss the plan and to ensure there will be a sufficient infrastructure in place.
He said: “From the town’s perspective this is a key site. We want it redeveloped, but we need to make sure it’s done safely. The risk is if they continue building in the way they are, the existing housing is going to have an increased flood risk.”
Councillors waved through the plans for the Premier Inn on the gasworks site and gave a developer two more years to start work on a separate hotel, restaurant, shops, flats and affordable homes on the Esplanade House site earlier this month, despite Labour councillors for Kursaal warning of a “sewage tsunami”.
The Environment Agency said flooding from the sea posed little danger to the hotel as no one would sleep on the ground floor.
But Mr Terry has warned rainwater could run off the former gasworks and Esplanade House site, which is raised, flooding low lying housing nearby. He fears the 10in water mains in the Victoria Gardens Estate cannot dealwith a flood and the pumping system, which is unadopted by the council or thewaterboard, may fail again.
Anglian Water will fit a sewage and drainage system for the new developments.
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