Mr Adams’ letter on Eastbourne’s sea defences (13.02.15) cannot go unchallenged. If, indeed, he has been observing our beaches since the 50s, he must have had an extended holiday in the decade up to 1991, by which time many of the groynes were skeletal, and beach levels were so low that the foundations of the sea wall were, in places, exposed.
So bad were the conditions that a total new scheme was put in hand. Between 1995 and 2000 the sea wall was encased and strengthened, the promenade rebuilt, and a new flood wall built along Marine Parade.
In addition 92 new, bigger, stronger groynes were constructed to help control no less than one million tonnes of imported dredged shingle, to provide a wider, deeper beach.
This groyne field - any groyne field - is designed to reduce the natural and inevitable shingle drift, here from west to east. To maintain the new beach levels, it was envisaged that more shingle would have to be added to the system, starting perhaps some 10 years after scheme completion.
Such maintenance could be achieved by an occasional bulk delivery by sea, by recycling from east back to west (usually by truck), by intermittent “feeding” which Mr Adams describes - or by a combination of some or all of these options. Proper maintenance is essential to get best value from the original works, just as it is for one’s car or house. As for Pevensey Castle, the waves did not just lap it, medieval fleets could shelter behind it! That, however, is a whole new story!
Brian E Waters,