A race against time to repair coastal defences and stop winter flooding of houses near the seafront at Bare is under way.
Lancaster City Council has until October 1 to improve rock armouring and prevent tonnes of shingle from blocking an outfall drain at Bare Beck, on the shore close to the VVV gym. The blockage has caused flooding of houses near Happy Mount Park and also affected Morecambe Golf Club. The council is awaiting an offer of £72,000 from DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) before it can start repair work, which could take up to eight weeks.
But Natural England have imposed a deadline of October 1, by which time work must have finished to allow birds to roost for winter. If the work is not completed, it will increase the risk of flooding over the winter months, putting homes at risk.
The council regularly removes the build-up of shingle from the 1.2m diameter drain, having been called out seven times since August 2012.A council report said: “It has not always been possible to act quickly due to the difficult of current access arrangements and availability of specialist contract plant.” The shingle has been shifting gradually across the foreshore since 2008, said the report, and builds up particularly after high tide. Work will include installing a small breakwater to minimise the movement of the shingle and allow easier access for maintenance in future.Lancaster City Council cabinet approved the work at a meeting on July 23, subject to the DEFRA grant being formally offered.