Urgent works are under way to repair a collapsed wall amid fears of increased rainfall which could cause more cliff slips in Southend.

Following the collapse of a wall in Belton Way, a councillor has warned the “underlying geology” of Southend’s cliffs must be assessed urgently to prevent further slippages.

Southend Council closed part of Belton Hills - off Marine Parade - earlier this month as engineers investigate the stability of the northern end of the cliffs.

It comes after the council announced an 18-month extension to road restrictions on Cliff Parade, where badger setts are delaying £2million works to stabilise the cliffs. 

Richard Longstaff, Green Party councillor for Leigh, said: “I am concerned about the geology of the embankments across Southend. The increased rainfall globally, caused by climate change, could lead to more slippages.

"Obviously, any embankment is susceptible to slippage so I’m not trying to be alarmist. But this month is on record as the wettest February for 256 years.

“The cliffs have been there for hundreds of years, but what is unprecedented is the increase in rainfall. The council needs to anticipate that increase.”

Echo: Part of Belton Way in Leigh has been closed off since last weekend.Part of Belton Way in Leigh has been closed off since last weekend. (Image: Southend Council)

Carole Mulroney, Lib Dem councillor for Leigh, agrees recent rainfall has impacted the cliffs.
She said: “All this wretched rain over the last few months has contributed to the movement of soil.

“We know the cliffs are slipping all the way along the seafront. This came to the fore after the slippage last weekend, because of the need to block off the pavement and part of the road for people’s safety.”

Tory deputy council leader Meg Davidson, who is responsible for the environment, said: “As part of the wider cliff stabilisation schemes in Leigh, we have been proactively monitoring the existing situation at Belton Way East.

“We had previously identified the potential weakness of the retaining wall before it collapsed and had robust safety measures already in place including the closure of the southern footway and a lane closure on the northern carriageway.”

Green Party council candidate and Torquay Drive resident Stuart Allen said: “I’m disappointed it’s taken the wall to collapse for the council to take it seriously. I’m hoping there isn’t a risk to safety and the council will do everything it can to prevent any further slippages.”

However, Conservative West Leigh councillor Owen Cartey says he has been “impressed by the council’s “speedy response”.