AN extra foot of seawall and more sand are needed to protect a stretch of coast from flooding.

Hundreds of families have been voting on how to protect more than two kilometres of coastline from the sea.

The most popular option involved raising the sea wall by ten to 12 inches, a beach “recharge” and more timber groynes - devices which help keep beaches in place.

It follows a public consultation covering the stretch of coast between Thorpe Bay Yacht Club and the Second World War Quick Fire Battery in Shoebury.

The aim is to improve protection against flooding to homes, beach-front businesses, roads, railway, and utilities services within the area over the next 30 years.

Former controversial plans for a £35million, 7ft high wall to be built across Shoebury Common were ditched after a public outcry.

Almost 190 people attended three public consultation events, and a further 122 people responded online, to give their views on four options suggested.

Southend councillor Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “It is vital to protect Shoeburyness from the sea level rises and storms brought about by climate change. It is such an important project with significant investment and we want to make sure we get it absolutely right, for now and for future generations.

“The feedback from residents, community group representatives and beach hut owners and the conversations they had with marine engineers, have been instrumental in the preferred option number four being selected. I want to take the opportunity to thank them for their time and input.”

Option four includes placing additional sand to the coastline to better protect the sea wall by forcing waves to break further offshore. Additional timber groynes would be added to reduce movement of this new beach material, while raising the wall by about ten to 12 inches between the Yacht Club and the promenade is needed because this stretch is lower than the predicted sea levels.

The council says the advantages of this option include stabilising existing defences and an improved beach to encourage tourism.

The three other options presented to the public were maintaining existing defences, rock armour at the base of the seawall and buried geotextile bags and timber groynes.

The consultation ended in February but the findings were published yesterday.

A council spokeswoman said: “Since the options were prepared there has been a change to standards used at the start of the design process and we have had to wait for approval from the Environment Agency to ensure the proposed project will last a significant number of years against predicted sea level rises.”

For The Friends of Shoebury Common which fought the original seawall plan, it is a welcome outcome. Member Peter Grubb, who owns Uncle Tom’s Cabin on Shoebury Common Beach, said: “I’m very pleased with this. It’s just a shame its taken so long. It’s six years since it all started. It is a win for flooding defences and a win for the area, improving the beaches. There is virtually no downside.” The report is available at