In May 2019, studies highlighted certain locations of the A183 Coast Road would likely be compromised at some point in the future. This is due to the ongoing erosion of the cliff face and the creation of cave formations.
Because of this, South Tyneside Council is proposing to move a section of the road away from the clifftop at the tightest point.
We are proposing to realign a section of road between the Lime Kilns and the caravan site, near the Marsden Grotto.
This would move the road away from the clifftop at the tightest point.
After the realignment, we are proposing to return the existing A183 Coast Road to grassland.
It is currently envisaged the realignment would extend the lifespan of the coastal route by approximately 50 years.
The Council appointed design consultant Capita to produce an initial design. This has enabled further investigations to be carried out, before the submission of a planning application in 2021.
Map of proposed realignment
Existing road - to be landscaped
Footway / cycleway
Local realignment of bridleway
Cutting / embankment
We expect the application will be ready to view around summer 2021.
All enquires will be responded to within five working days. We will, of course, aim to respond sooner.
Frequently asked questions
How long has the council been aware of the risk to the coast road?
A Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) was developed by Royal Haskoning in 2007 on behalf of the North East Coastal Authorities Group and this led to the monitoring of erosion, including the Marsden Bay area, from 2008 through to the present day. In May 2019 the Council sought detailed specialist advice from Royal HaskoningDHV, a company with an international reputation in this field. They were commissioned to undertake analysis and interpretation of monitoring surveys to provide a greater understanding of the behaviour of the cliff edge at critical 'pinch point' sections of Marsden Bay. The report they produced highlighted that due to ongoing erosion of the cliff face and the creation of cave formations, the A183 Coast Road would in future be compromised. It also provided definitive advice on safety thresholds and actions to be undertaken. One such action was to commence works on the proposed local realignment `with immediate effect`, which is now underway.
Why are we not stopping the cliff erosion?
The specialist advice within the Royal Haskoning report concluded it is not a viable option to locally defend the cliff line around the 'pinch point' sections due to the adverse effects it would have on the rest of the bay, since erosion would continue unabated elsewhere. Instead, the whole bay would have to be protected which would not only have unaffordable economic impacts, but would also result in the potential loss of key geological SSSI features. Such an approach would also be contrary to the policy of the Shoreline Management Plan 2 (SMP2). Furthermore, any coastal defence against marine erosion would not eliminate retreat of the cliff line via sub-aerial weathering processes and freeze-thaw effects.
Are the public already aware of the proposed realignment scheme?
In 2020 discussions began with the planning department to establish the likely environmental impacts and constraints. This formal process is recorded on the planning register which is in the public domain. As a result of this, articles were published by Shields Gazette, Evening Chronicle and Sunderland Echo which described the proposals and the reasons for them.
Where can I find the planning application?
We anticipate the application will be ready to view around summer 2021 on the Council's planning portal.
What will happen to the "old road"?
The Council is proposing to return the existing A183 Coast Road back to grassland following completion of the scheme.
When will construction start?
Subject to planning approval and the development of a detailed design, the works will likely get under way in 2022.
Will the Lime Kilns be affected?
An extensive Environmental Impact Assessment is being prepared to ensure this feature is not adversely affected.
Will the cycle provision be maintained or improved?
The current provision of a segregated footway/cycleway on the east side will be maintained along the realigned section.
Will the existing bridleway be affected?
A small section will be realigned locally to accommodate the proposed road alignment.