Holland-on-Sea and Tendring Beaches – A Project Engineers View

Trevor Bright has also been concerned about the state of the beach.  He sent me an email last week which I have reproduced below.  Trevor’s experience seems especially relevant – in his own words:

Whilst I was working for BP within their Engineering department as a Project Engineer the main part of my job was supervision of Contractors/Consultants involved in the Design of offshore North Sea oil platforms and construction of onshore refinery plant. My involvement was from prequalification/tendering to contract completion. I realise therefore how important it is to specify to MMD exactly what it is that is wanted from them. It is also important whilst the contract is ongoing to be in a position to question them at a technical level. After all they are a contractor and the report they produce must provide answers not more questions that will require another study.”


Dear Jeremy,

I am concerned on how the Council will specify to Mott MacDonald (MMD)
what it is that MMD are to study and report on. We do not want MMD
to just issue the Felixstowe report re-branded for Clacton/Holland.  

I am interested to know who will be involved with the preparation of
the Contract Specification as does the Council department responsible
have the necessary experience in producing this type of detailed
specification for MMD?

The reason behind my concern is that the recent works at the bottom of
Cliff Road failed to include within the scope a 50 metre stretch of
stainless steel barrier at the edge of the promenade.
Currently crowd control barriers are being used.

The Council will need to ensure that MMD provide a detailed study with
answers to questions that have been, or are likely to be raised.
We do not want to end up with yet another study being necessary in a
years time because the scope of the MMD report was too restrictive.
Therefore, the Councils specification document would, I should have
thought, need to be circulated for input from any interested parties
along with a consultation process. Ideally we should end up with a
document from MMD that will contain all relevant information regarding
sea defences in the area that will supersede any other documents.

My thoughts on some items that will need to be included
in a study by MMD.

1) The history of sea defences from Clacton pier to the Gunfleet Boating
   Club since the War to the present day

   (This section will be provided by the Council to MMD as background

      - the construction of the concrete breakwaters and promenade
        including cliff face stabilisation (including costs if possible)

      - recharging of the beaches with sand
        (when carried out, volumes and costs)

      - recent works, rocks against the sea wall
       (when, volumes and costs)

2) Summary of what is causing the loss of beach from the
   Gunfleet Boating Club to Clacton Pier

      - tidal currents running North East and South West

      - has the lack of maintenance to breakwaters created a
        snowball effect on the loss of beach?

      - if the breakwaters had been maintained
        what would have been the cost?

      - what state would the beach be in if the breakwaters had been

3) What if we do nothing

      - scope of work to just keep the beaches safe

         . removal of dangerous concrete breakwaters

         . placing of rocks against the sea wall to protect it where
           the beaches become particularly low.

        .  will there be a possibility of promenade collapse or
           cliff slippage?

        . will beach re-charge become necessary at some point?

     - a per year cost estimate in keeping the beaches safe
       (this naturally will not include hidden costs such
        as the loss of revenue by local businesses and cafes due to
        lack of access to the beaches and therefore the reduction
        in the number of tourists).

4) Proposals for sea defence

     - details of various solutions along with costs

         . repair / replace existing breakwaters

         . fishtail groynes

         . offshore rock reefs

         . any other suggestions.

      - include details and costs associated with removing the
        existing breakwaters if required

      - include details of any beach re-charge that may be necessary

      - can any of the solutions be carried out in a phased manner
        (i.e. build a fishtail groyne at the Gunfleet Boating Club and
        then one at Eastcliff to deflect the long shore current and then
        work on the area between these)

     - ongoing maintenance costs of the proposed solutions

5) Recommendations

     - details and costings for a recommended solution

6) Reference Documents

     - supporting documentation provided by the Council and used by
       MMD in the preparation of the report

No doubt with your experience you have some others things that will need
to be addressed by MMD.

Best Regards


Trevor sent me this email before I posted my account of my meeting with Mott MacDonald and TDC. When he had a chance to read that post he wrote

I have read the latest post to your blog but I am still interested to know what Mott MacDonald’s brief is. I thought it was to produce a study with recommendations and possible solutions. It would then be for those funding the construction work and future maintenance to make the decision of which solution to adopt.

So it is not just me who would like more openess with regard to

  1. The evidence TDC (or anyone else) is holding concerning the reasons for the erosion of the beach and lack of maintenace of the groynes.
  2. What exactly have MMD been contacted to do by TDC on our behalf.
  3. What are the likely costs and who will provide the funding.
  4. What will happen if funding can not be found?

In particular given all of Tendring Coast from Naze to Seawick runs approximately north-east to south-west (yes I know there are changes of around 30°) why is the state of the beach so different at Holland-on-Sea.  And if the lack of repair to groynes is irrelevant can we have copies of documentary evidence which show what the cause is.

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