Managed retreat from Newgale 'in next 60 years'
7:37am Tuesday 18th March 2014 in News
An aerial view of the bus in floodwater at Newgale. The bus was hit by huge waves and passengers had to be rescued on Saturday night. PICTURE: SkyCamWales (3778910)
THE storm-battered village of Newgale is unlikely to exist in its current form within 60 years, councillors have been told.
A “managed retreat” of infrastructure and houses at Newgale is likely “over the next 60 years or so” but other work needs to be undertaken before then, Pembrokeshire County Council’s head of highways Darren Thomas told environment committee members last week.
The comments arose as Mr Thomas and Richard Brown, the council’s head of environment and civil contingencies, updated members following the severe weather which smashed Pembrokeshire earlier this year.
At Newgale, the A487 was closed for about 14 days after waves breached pebble defences.
Mr Thomas said the stability of the shingle bank, which had remained undamaged for 10 to 15 years before January’s storms, was an issue “to consider”.
While the council is not directly responsible for the shingle bank, it is responsible for maintaining the road.
It is estimated Newgale has lost more than a metre’s depth of sand this winter and the council has said it is likely motorists, residents and businesses will continue to be affected by flooding and road closures.
Council engineers are working closely with officers from Natural Resources Wales to improve the situation but warn there is no easy solution.
Cabinet member for highways and transportation Councillor Rob Lewis said larger waves are now travelling much higher up the beach and breaking with greater force on the shingle bank, which has become “a great deal weaker”.
“This poses a risk to motorists as well as depositing large quantities of pebbles across the area to the rear of the beach, including across the road,” he added.
Speaking about “Wild Wednesday” – which saw 95mph gusts cause widespread damage across the county on February 12 – Mr Brown said the council “had never seen anything like that before”.
He added: “We didn’t have much left – if anything else had hit us, we would have been really struggling.”
To date, the council has spent more than £750,000 repairing storm damage.
Some £600,000 has been set aside to repair damage at Amroth and a further £50,000 for Newgale. Another £400,000 of Welsh Government money is being made available under the tourism infrastructure fund.
The environment committee thanked council workers for their hard work during the severe weather.
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