Tories to pull plug on sea wall?

WESTON'S controversial sea defence scheme could soon be scrapped by Tories on the new-look North Somerset Council who believe the idea is 'pretty daft'

WESTON'S controversial sea defence scheme could soon be scrapped by Tories on the new-look North Somerset Council who believe the idea is 'pretty daft'.The sea wall project planned for the seafront is undergoing an emergency review by the new administration at the Town Hall, which is already thinking about an alternative scheme.Since the Conservative party gained a massive majority at last week's elections and took control of the council, it has set up a working group to talk to traders, hoteliers and residents about how the millions of pounds of Government money allocated to protect Weston from flooding could be used.The new Tory leader of the authority, Nigel Ashton, has said the current scheme, which work is due to start on this summer, is unsuitable for a tourist area and will put holidaymakers off the town.He says if the working group can come up with a different, improved scheme in the next few weeks, which costs the same as the current idea, the Government should still give Weston the £7million it has allocated for sea defences.The Environment Agency, which controls the funds, has said the scheme is North Somerset Council's and they can scrap it if they wish.Ideas such as a marina, a proposal for which has been put together by traders, are already being spoken about.Planning permission was granted to raise the sea wall and build a secondary 'splash wall' behind it in December last year, despite significant opposition to the proposals from seafront traders.Now 43 Tory councillors have been voted onto the council, they want to see a different scheme.The working party will be made up of councillors in wards on the seafront, such as Kewstoke councillor Ian Porter and newly-elected hotelier Andrew Horler and bar and restaurant owner Chris Kimitri.Cllr Ashton said: "I'm going to ask some of the local councillors in that area to review the whole question of sea defences."The proposed six-foot wall strikes me as pretty daft, it is something you cannot do in a tourist area. It's not what tourists want to see."The working party will report back in a few weeks on whether it is the right scheme and a scheme people want."If it is what people want then fine - we will carry on as we are."If we come up with a better scheme for the same money why would the Government not support that? There must be some room for discussion and we know we must act quickly.

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