Wall will not stop hotels flooding
SEAFRONT traders will raise funds for a breakwater and marina to protect Weston from flooding as the Government says there will be no cash for flood defences
SEAFRONT traders will raise funds for a breakwater and marina to protect Weston from flooding - as the Government says there will be no cash for flood defences for at least the next year.Hotel and bar owners say North Somerset Council has told them the proposed 1.5m splash wall would not protect their businesses from flooding, it would only stop the floodwater from getting further inland.The businessmen have told the Weston & Somerset Mercury that because the wall would 'only ruin customers' views' they will not support it, but will help raise the cash from the private sector for a marina and breakwater instead.The council originally looked at three different flood defence schemes including a £20million option with a breakwater and marina. But the council voted to pursue the more economical £7million scheme to raise the existing sea wall and build a 1.5m high splash wall along the promenade.Owner of Nook and Harbour restaurant, Chris Kimitri, said: "This wall may look pretty on paper to some people but it will be horrible, a tunnel with about four openings onto the seafront and people will be like sheep going along it."On top of that it will not protect our hotels and bars from flooding, so we don't want it."We are trying to look at the alternative of a breakwater and marina which could be great for Weston. "We are willing to support it financially and try and raise money towards a scheme that will benefit Weston."Sophia Michael, who owns the Seaward Hotel, said: "The hoteliers are joining forces to make sure the right project for Weston goes ahead - and that is not a wall.""We will all be looking at ways to raise the money to pay for a breakwater and marina."Weston's MP John Penrose, senior councillors, and council officers went to Westminster on Monday to lobby Government minister Ian Pearson for extra cash to pay for better sea defences.But they were told there would be no money this year and it would be unlikely there would be any next year.A severe flood would put most of the town underwater as far inland as Worle.Cllr Muriel Kraft said: "We all pushed the minister as hard as possible to give us a firm date when Weston's scheme would be approved and the money would start to flow. "He told us that his department's budget for the next year is committed to other schemes which are already being built, but that Weston is one of the highest priority schemes in the country once new money becomes available."John Penrose MP said: "Following the meeting with the minister I've pledged to come back to the hoteliers to see if the harbour scheme, which needs additional funding, can be made to work.