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Marine construction specialist appointed for Mumbles sea defence work

Credit: Swansea Council

Swansea Council has appointed marine construction specialist Knights Brown to undertake major sea defence work at Mumbles.

The work, to help protect the community’s homes, businesses and people from rising sea levels for decades to come, will take around 18 months.

It also aims to improve Mumbles as a destination, with new lighting, litter bins, seating and better links to Mumbles Road.

A range of actions will be taken to limit the scheme’s disruption to householders, businesses, events and visitors.

Oyster Wharf

The project is being delivered by Swansea Council in partnership with Welsh Government.

Funding for preparatory work has been met through grant funding with the Welsh Government supplying 85% towards construction through its Coastal Risk Management Programme.

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “This work at Mumbles will improve flood and coastal erosion protection to around 130 properties and is another great example of the work delivered thanks to our Coastal Risk Management Programme.

“I am pleased with the progress of the programme and it is encouraging to see authorities taking proactive steps to address the risk posed by sea level rise and climate change in their communities.”

Andrew Stevens, the council’s cabinet member for environment and infrastructure, said: “We’re delighted to have appointed Knights Brown through a competitive tender process.

“Their experience and expertise in marine environments is impressive. We’ll work with them to do all we can to minimise disruption to the public and business during the course of this major construction project.

“In the build-up to work starting – after several years of careful planning and public consultation – we’ve been liaising with the community and will continue to do that for the duration of the scheme.”

Knights Brown divisional director Andrew Eilbeck said: “We’re pleased to have been awarded this major sea defence project at Mumbles. It will protect and enhance the local area and its amenities.

“Drawing on our extensive experience of similar work in south Wales, we look forward to working alongside the council to deliver the project successfully and with consideration for local people and businesses.

“We have a strong track record of generating value for communities. This will continue at Mumbles, including apprenticeships, employment and local business opportunities.

Recent sea defence civil engineering undertaken by Knights Brown includes significant projects at Aberavon, Burry Port and Porthcawl.

Some existing sea defences in Mumbles are in a poor condition and the flood risk level is expected to increase in the future due to predicted sea level rises.

A lack of action would put around 130 homes and businesses at risk. The new development will strengthen the sea wall and raise the height of key parts of it.

Work on site is due to start in the next few days (note: w/c Jan 30), initially with Knights Brown setting up a compound close to the prom and the Oyster House hotel.

Work will see parts of the prom closed to the public in a phased manner throughout the work.

Access to homes and businesses will remain throughout. It is planned that work directly adjacent to businesses abutting the prom will be limited during the peak tourist season, in order to limit any disruption.

Construction noise is likely throughout the major project although it is planned that this will be in daytime where possible.

Other measures taken to limit disruption during the work are planned to include:

  • Efforts to minimise a temporary decrease in parking space
  • Regular public communication about work progress and travel options
  • Consideration of options for the route of the council’s seafront land train
  • Consideration of options for the partial re-routing of athletics events
  • Timely communication to tourists and the local tourism trade

The council and its contractors plan to keep the public and businesses informed with face-to-face drop-in sessions, newsletters and updates online and in the press.

Cllr Stevens said: “This is a big moment for Mumbles, its community, businesses, residents and visitors. The result will be a brighter, welcoming place to live and work, protected from the sea for generations to come.

“The aim is to be sensitive to Mumbles as a seaside visitor destination while protecting people and property.

“Visual improvements to the area will create a greener, sustainable and attractive waterfront – an asset to the local community and an attraction for visitors.

“We thank the local public, businesses and visitors for their understanding during this essential work.”

The 1.2km project – from Knab Rock slipway to Oystermouth Square – will bring more space for pedestrians and cyclists to share the prom with care, the protection of trees and more opportunities for play and relaxation.

It aims to protect the community against flooding and rising tides – and to remodel the prom as a safe, modern, inclusive visitor attraction.

Views across the bay will be maintained – and the scheme looks to improve the prom to aid regeneration and tourism.

The existing sea defences were built more than a century ago.