November 2023 Update
An independent assessment report for the seawall has recently been published by Royal Haskoning DHV (read here).
A public drop-in session on the 12th of December has been arranged and representatives from Havant Borough Council, Coastal Partners, Natural England, Chichester Harbour Conservancy and Royal Haskoning DHV will be available to answer any questions.
Find full event details HERE.
October 2023 Update
In July 2023, an independent report was commissioned into options for the future of the failing sea defences at the bottom of Wade Lane, near Langstone Millpond. The consultants, Royal Haskoning DHV have finalised the report; it can be read in full here. Chichester Harbour Conservancy, along with all members of the working group will now consider the findings of the report.
September 2023 Update
A response to the Leader of the Council's letter has been received from Rebecca Pow MP, Minister for Environment, Quality and Resilience. This letter is also to be considered a response from Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay.
The response recognises the changes in climate and the need to act is now. The Government are investing 5.2 billion into a Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management programme, which includes for works where it is sustainable and affordable to defend the coastline to better protect hundreds of thousands of properties across England. Further investment is being made by the Government to a flood and coastal innovation programme, to transition and adapt to a changing climate and coastline.
The minister points out that the Environment Agency (EA) is "supportive of the roll back of the footpath as part of an appropriate adaptation plan". They consider the proposed Chichester Harbour Investment and Adaptation plan could be an appropriate way to undertake this. While the Mill Pond is not listed the plan should seek to express consideration for the historic environment. Historic England is working closely with Natural England and the EA to ensure that adaption and management of coastline considers the heritage impacts.
HBC are encouraged to continue engaging with stakeholders, which is HBC's full intention. The letter can be read in full here.
August 2023 Update
Chichester Harbour Conservancy has appointed an independent consultancy to produce a technical report into the sea defences from Langstone Millpond to Wade Lane. The consultants Royal HaskoningDHV are experienced in coastal management solutions. The report will provide a detailed assessment of the sea defences and surrounding area and advise on their future management. The report is expected to be published in early Autumn 2023, and will be shared online.
Further information is available here: Sea Wall Update - Langstone Millpond to Wade Lane - Chichester Harbour Conservancy
The monitoring survey from August 2023 has been updated below, click here to view.
July 2023 Update
On June 21st the full HBC Council discussed the future of the sea wall and it was resolved that the council would:
1. Seek support and funding from the Environment Agency and other key stakeholders for a long-term solution by undertaking a Chichester Harbour Environment and Investment Adaptation Strategy.
2. Write to the Environment Agency, Chichester Harbour Conservancy and Natural England to express the strong democratic support for the protection of the Langstone Mill Pond through sea defences. This should include the holistic assessment of the long-term management and enhancement of the wildlife within the Langstone Mill Pond that supports the network of habitats and species within the Harbour.
Following the correspondence and dialogs with The Environment Agency, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, and Natural England, Havant Borough Council's ambitions to saving the sea wall between Langstone Mill and Wade Lane is severely limited due to national policy which exists in order to preserve the national values of the environmental designation with the harbour. HBC are not supported in protection of the sea wall through implementing maintenance or repair works.
There is concern for the SSSI, with Natural England noting that it is, “failing due to extensive coastal defences, with most having a Shoreline Management Plane policy of ‘hold the line’.” Natural England’s view is such that they do not see the necessity for costly and environmentally damaging short term, or longer term, repairs to the Langstone Sea Wall. A solution of rolling back the footpath and re-alignment of the seawall is preferred.
In the reply from the Chichester Harbour Conservancy, they accept that local people have a strong affection for the Mill Pond and the walk to Wade Lane, although they consider the priority to be conservation of the Harbour. "It is unfortunate that the case at Langstone appears to pitch two different conservation sites (the harbour and Mill Pond) against each other, though there is an unequivocal and substantial difference in their respective importance. The harbour holds SSSI status 8, is an AONB, a Special Area of Conservation, and a Special Protection Area. It is also a designated Ramsar Site. The Mill Pond sits within the AONB and is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC); a county-level assessment. The former is of international and national importance, whereas the latter is not. However difficult to relay, this distinction matters. As such, the priority for conservation is clear. It is the harbour."
The reply from the Environment Agency emphasises the need for Flood and Coastal Risk Management Strategy ambitions for resilient places and a nation ready for, and resilient to coastal change. This includes working with nature-based solutions contributing to nature recovery by creating and restoring habitats.
May 2023 Update
There are shared concerns about the condition of this coastline, which is an iconic location in the borough. The condition of the sea defences near Langstone Mill Pond has continued to be monitored since initial inspections in July 2021. In March 2022 following winter storms, an approximate 30m long section of brick seawall collapsed. Havant Borough Council had already been monitoring this situation and liaising with Hampshire County Council, Countryside Services Team (HCC) on the safety of the public footpath that runs along the top of the defences. There are 3 main areas of damage in total as shown on the location plan and in the photos below.
The memorial bench in Area 3 (below, right) was presenting a health and safety risk due to erosion undermining the brick platform it sat on, therefore the bench has been removed.
An assessment of the overall condition of the sea defence is of a poor rating. Un-maintained, the immediate risk of further collapse of the wall in Area 1 and Area 2 is anticipated to erode similar to the section, which has already failed. The ground behind this section has become exposed forming a slope inland that we will continue to monitor. We expect the rate of erosion will vary year to year depending upon the severity of the winter, but would estimate approximately 0.1m per year.
More information about consenting, the ecological assessment and the multi-agency group responsibilities please see the related pages.
Coastal Partners will continue to monitor the defects closely and frequently. We have been surveying the erosion of the land affected by the collapsed seawall in Area 3 since December 2022, The changes recorded can be seen in the image below.
This is not an Isolated challenge in Chichester Harbour and there are other sites within our harbour with failing sea defences, where maintenance or replacement of defences is no longer the best option and is unlikely to be consented to. Solving the complex challenges such those describe above for Wade Lane drive a need for a Chichester Harbour Wide Strategy to develop a holistic way forward for people and the environment providing the much-needed direction for areas like Langstone Mill Pond. HBC are in the process of bidding to the Environment Agency for funding to develop the works to local needs and the government vision for a nation ready for, and resilient to, flooding and coastal change - today, tomorrow and to the year 2100.
These defences sit within a sensitive harbour environment. Find out more here: Ecological Assessment
Any proposals to maintain or replace these defences would need to secure all necessary consents. Find out more here: Consenting Guidance
There is a multi-Agency group consisting of Havant Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Chichester Harbour Conservancy, and the Environment Agency jointly considering the most viable solution for this section of coastline: Find out more about their responsibilities here: Interested Parties & Responsibilities
Click here to view the frequently asked questions about the Mill Pond to Wade Lane path.