Last week we were hit by three named storms in a single week, but our seafront defences held firm. It was a useful reminder that Weston’s promenade isn’t just a great place to walk when the weather’s fine: it does important work keeping us all safe when the waves are crashing and the wind is howling too.
It’s easy to take our sea defences for granted – they’ve been in place for a while now after all – but they nearly didn’t happen at all. The original Victorian sea wall was in serious need of an upgrade when the banking crisis happened in 2008, and the works could easily have been cancelled by Ministers because money was so tight. But we mounted a strong local campaign and convinced the then-Labour Government not to pull the plug.
The upgraded promenade doesn’t just protect seafront homes and businesses either. If the sea got past the wall, it would run all the way inland to Worle, so it matters to us all. Without it, the damage to tiles, fences and the Odeon’s frontage would have been much worse, and all the online jokes from people looking for partners to start a fencing company wouldn’t have been nearly so funny either.
So the damage could have been a lot worse, but it’s still an extra cost which we could all have done without. Whether you’re a covid-affected local employer or a long-term Weston resident, an unexpected repair bill is the last thing anyone wants. Most of the damage will have been insured, but it will still slow us down and delay our town’s economic recovery and the number of new local jobs we can create.
So, as the town’s motto almost says: ‘Ever Forward, but no more storms for a while please’