News story

Kent coastal redoubt protected once again

Prompt action by Ministry of Defence staff has saved a Napoleonic fortification threatened after winter storms damaged nearby sea defences.

Work to repair sea defences at Hythe [Picture: Crown copyright]
Work to repair sea defences at Hythe

Over the Christmas and New Year break, Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) staff from the Cinque Ports Training Area (CPTA) in Kent battled the high tides and gale-force winds that threatened the sea defences at both Lydd and Hythe ranges.

DIO surveyors alerted the Environment Agency to flooding danger posed by a breach in sea defences at Hythe. This allowed the agency to repair the damage and head off the flood threat to local residents and the Grand Redoubt at Dymchurch.

Tom Dauben from the Environment Agency said:

Working around the clock with DIO and our contractors enabled us to stabilise the breach and repair the damage. The quick response of all parties ensured that the breach did not deteriorate further and cause flooding to properties or infrastructure.

The work has now been completed, leaving the Grand Redoubt safe once more. A scheduled monument, the fortification was built during the Napoleonic War as part of a large defensive scheme to protect the country from an expected French invasion.

The structure remains the property of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and is used as a training facility.

Lieutenant Colonel Dickie Bishop with Dan Burden of Mackley Construction
Lieutenant Colonel Dickie Bishop (right) at the Hythe site with Dan Burden of Mackley Construction [Picture: Crown copyright]

Richard Goslett, DIO’s rural estate surveyor at CPTA, said:

When the storms began at Christmas we monitored the situation closely and alerted the Environment Agency, who carried out emergency repair works on the sea defences at the redoubt.

The completion of the repairs has taken longer than expected because the horrendous weather conditions meant that the contractors were only able to work at low tide. They also had to use quick-drying concrete to fill in the holes in the sea defences before the next high tide.

At Hythe Ranges, the heavy seas were so severe that they badly eroded the sea defences in front of the Grand Redoubt. A small hole in the protective sea wall before Christmas quickly grew to the size of a volleyball court by the New Year, threatening to flood the ranges and low-lying parts of Dymchurch and Hythe.

Mackley Construction, on behalf of the Environment Agency, began work to repair the sea defences in the middle of January. The work was expected to last 2 weeks, but the continuing bad weather and high tides meant that the work was delayed. Work on the scheme was completed on 14 February 2014.

Talking about the project, Lieutenant Colonel Dickie Bishop, Commander DIO Sustainable Development Training South East, said:

Completing this work has enabled the DIO to protect a historic coastal monument and ensure that local residents and their properties, along with our military ranges and training facilities, are protected from flooding in the future.

Published 20 March 2014