Islanders challenge idea to remove L’Ancresse sea wall

THE impact of the removal of a large section of wall at L’Ancresse Bay was the main concern raised by those who attended presentations on the future of the beach yesterday.


Other key issues raised at the meetings organised by the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure involved the future of the kiosk, and the cost of the proposed work.

Two meetings were held, at 4pm – attended by about 40 people – and at 7.30, when just under 80 people went along.

Greg Guthrie of engineers Royal HaskoningDHV outlined the various options that had been explored, ranging from doing nothing – which would create health and safety risks – to creating a ‘sub-bay’ using breakwaters at a cost of an estimated £2.7m.

The preferred option, for just over £1m., would see two protective rock groynes built, one in front of the kiosk, on part of the wall which would be retained, and one 130m to the west, near the rock outcrop in the middle of the bay.

This and the removal of the wall between the groynes, should allow the redevelopment of a sandy beach, he said.

During the meetings’ question and answer session, the committee was challenged as to why the wall could not just be left and reinforced.

E&I president Barry Brehaut pointed out several times during both meetings that the wall was a defence – an anti-tank wall – not a sea defence, and Mr Guthrie said the reflecting action of the wall had led to a fall in the level of sand in the beach – a point that was disputed by more than one audience member.

Comments for: "Islanders challenge idea to remove L’Ancresse sea wall"


"doing nothing – which would create health and safety risks"

... which is why from Norway to Spain no one is crying out for the pricey removal of WW2 defences.

If E&I is concerned about health and safety risks, may I recommend the more economic solution of installing of a couple of 50p plastic warning signs.

Devil's Advocate

It depends on where the defences are. On a remote beach with no facilities it's no problem to let them get washed into the sea, however on a beach like L'Ancresse where a 'safe environment' is expected, leaving the wall to slump isn't the right option.


So it started with £ 1.0 million, then £ 1.8 million, now I hear £ 2.7 million, do I hear any more, going, going, gone.


That's Barry Brehaut's "it'll cost what it costs" grasp on Politics....Economics.....and Guernsey.


I am not an expert on this but can remember the wall being broken in this area when I was a child and I am now in my 50's.

Obviously it has got a bit worse in this time but it is still standing.

We have some good firms here in the island that I am sure they can reinforce it with steel and pour concrete in to make it safe.

Look what a good job was done by the bunker at the Rockmount end of Cobo.

This I am sure will not cost millions and does not need thousands of pounds spent on UK surveyors etc we have the talent on island.

A repair like this will last a few years I am sure so leave the old wall were it is and repair it and use your granite elsewhere.


I forgot to add that Barry Brehaut had pointed out it was a wall built for the war and there was none there before but this wall has stopped the common being eroded.

I would ask Barry to go and sit on the common about 6 ft from the wall when we have a gale force wind from the north.

See how dry he stays then decided if the wall is actually stopping the water or not.

Devil's Advocate

Thething is, the common wasn't being eroded before the wall was there! If it was there would have been a wall built earlier!

An AI Forever

Whats happened to the enough is enough gang and in particular tricky trevor hockey sticks

Or was that all about self interest ?

And now blown out of the water.


Trevor has not posted for ages as I think after a post got heated he has been blocked.



Does anyone actually have evidence that this wall is on the move more in recent years

If there is a possibility of this section falling forward on to the beach why not peg the section with 4" bar going vertically and if there is actually rock behind the wall even twenty feet back tie this in to the vertical rods again with substantial steel bars.

Fill the holes with a concrete mix using the waste glass that is going to cost a fortune to get rid of

There you go no £500,000 survey

Use a local company and guess what get a warranty thrown in

Wallygator you seem to know the area well what are your thoughts

What work has been done in this area over the past 20 years

Devil's Advocate

I'm sure anyone who brushes against concrete made with crushed glass will really appreciate it...not. Tying the wall back will stop it toppling towards the sea, but it won't stop it sinking and opening up cracks that need filling every year at a cost. The only way to stop it moving is to build a 'toe' with piles like at Cobo and Vazon, but that's going to be expensive.


Devil's Advocate

some really big holes to fill so it could be used for part of the project you would be surprised how many tonnes of Concrete this job will take so your first remark is invalid

If the wall sinks a bit so what it wont fall over

Maybe whoever gets the job will give some sort of guarantee period

There is always a first time!



I don't believe any work has been done in the last few years but I totally agree with the 4" bar and concrete option.

I am surprised some one like Geomarine has not come forward with a realistic price to repair this.

If they did then we the tax payers could lobby our deputies to vote for the right option instead of BB making another wrong expensive decision for us all.

Come on BB grow some and make the right move for all of us.


I've today written to Deputy Brehaut asking him whether he and his Committee are bringing this to the Assembly for debate. It's of significant public interest and needs a public airing in my view

Island Wide Voting

Don't hear much from the other mini district deputies who claim to represent the whole island

I suspect they don't give a toss which is why full blown island wide voting is essential



I understand why you feel it is of "significant public interest" but "interest" does not equate to expertise.

If you have a public "airing" for this what about the runway extension nonsense.

Or any other issue that attracts under 120 persons.

Do not get me wrong on this issue - Mash's suggestion certainly seems a valid one and I am sure that Barry Brehaut's approach is more to do with environmentally driven political correctness.

I would like to see the sea wall strengthened - but, let us keep this in perspective.

But I am uneasy about public airings on a matter like this but not on other pressing issues that could squander scores of millions. As opposed to a couple of million.


There lies the main problem. Unfortunately for him BB is the wrong man to head up E&I. Every project he involves himself with becomes a battlefield. He is not respected and more importantly not trusted, by the electorate. The dodgems politics he involves himself with do nothing for the good of the island and arguably works against the environment he so publicly declares he cares about by not being able to handle even the smallest projects. The committee is weak allowing him to reign with such impunity, not surprising when an unopposed president is allowed to select a committee unopposed .Not for the first time there is talk of a MNC in his abilities, he wont resign as his ego wont allow him and the salary hike is all important to him, come on States for the good of the island and the dept he represents.... move him on!



As I have said in an email to the Committee and all Deputies, this isn't a re point of an existing wall or repairing a collapse on say a failed Perelle structure; this is a significant re alignment with a risk to amenities, kiosk and public toilets. Had it been the former, then that comes under what I perceive as housekeeping. This is different though and it is, to a degree, a bit of an experiment.

The airport runway is getting an airing. The first one the Soulsby and Roffey amendment to Policy and Resources V2 - Amendment effectively to go no further.




Thanks for explanation and qualification.

Sam O

I attended one of the two meetings held by environment & infrastructure (Deputy Brehaut) on Monday ( the 4pm one). I also asked a number of questions and I must say, without writing a complete epistle, that I was not happy with most of the replies, both on costs and where exactly the money was coming from and the necessity to spend a £1,000.000 plus on pulling a wall down instead of maintaining it and allowing sea through to form it's own natural balance, which, with global warming will encroach into the common but how far is still is still only reasoned guess work. What amused me is the insistence that this wall is an anti tank wall and not a sea defence. True it was an antitank wall during the occupation but for the past 70 odd years it has been a sea defence holding the sea back from continuous erosion of L'ancresse Common. The common has built up against the back of the wall providing security for the common and path and buffet behind it. The wall needs concrete poured into the large crack to stop settlement and water getting behind it and the concrete skirt needs building up to provide more support and I'm sure that will not cost anything like a million and the unknown extra costs of ensuring the new bay forms correctly. I have written to all deputies asking that this whole idea gets strong scrutiny. You should do the same.

Gary Blanchford

Devil's Advocate

"The wall needs concrete poured into the large crack to stop settlement and water getting behind it and the concrete skirt needs building up to provide more support and I'm sure that will not cost anything like a million"

Filling the crack won't stop additional settlement, nor water getting behind anything - on high springs the sea jumps over the top of the wall!

Do you actually understand the mechanisms by which the wall is collapsing? Let me explain, the wall has no real foundations and was built in front of the dune system, thus the sea smacks up against it at high tide. sometimes much water over-tops the wall and saturates the land behind it. The hydraulic effects of the water hitting the wall suck sand out from underneath and behind it - this effect happens all over the island, with the most recent breaches being Vazon, Fermain and Rocquaine. Every 2-3 years a new hole appears in the surfers' carpark at Vazon due to this. The only solution is to drive a wall of piles into the beach in front of the wall and cap them with a concrete 'toe'. this has successfully been done at Cobo and behind the Groynes at Vazon. Given the States' experience of doing this I suspect they've a good idea of the cost, and that it'll be more expensive.


Devil's Advocate

I for one understand what is happening to this wall it is not new and is best fixed in the long term by piling on the Seward side of the wall



Fat fingers again

If this wall was at the bottom of my garden and I had to pay the bill to fix it not forgetting it has been in position for over 70 years

I would have monitored it very closely over the past five years to see just the extent of the movement then I would make a plan

Would I be prepared to spend an undisclosed figure to pull the wall down also incurring costs to relocate a paying Tennant for some idea where the outcome is unknown The costs for this option are in access of £3,000,000

Any work on the Seward side will be more expensive that on the land side and once the wall is breached the cost of reinstatement would be colossal

I do not know if there is any good rock on the land behind this wall but I would ask around and look at old maps to see

Supposing that there is rock behind the wall 20 or even 40 foot back and 6-10 Ft down this could be used as an anchor to stabilise the wall using suitable heavy beams in a number of trenches.

The wall could then be repaired using steel rods and concrete (big rods loads of concrete)

Perhaps the inclusion of some rather large rocks in front of the base of the wall would prevent or at least slow down the sucking away of sand this could be monitored

A good size land drain behind the wall would help disperse water that collects behind this wall during a storm

Maybe in a few years time after close monitoring if needed fit the sheet piles to the Seward side


I am all for the States to decide about this as the cost will go out of control.

The only problem is they keep bringing in outside experts who don't know the island and charge us the earth. Use local surveyors as they have the island knowledge.

On another note though, was there ever any discussion about the repairs to Perelle wall and all the repointing done, the same with the L'eree one and now the work on the East wall opposite the old bus sheds.

How much have all these cost us.

Island Wide Voting

Was that the Perelle wall repaired by a Jersey firm?

Possibly the cheapest tender but all the money went off island.Quite likely to be repeated at L'Ancresse


Any sane committee would have seen the flak coming( although chief antagonist seems to enjoy this sort of thing) and would have ALL of the islands coastal problems identified and prioritised. Asking for public input to the priorities, after all they are the ones who see the problems daily, and present the list for approval stating what overall budget there is and then state what projects in their opinion should receive priority. Despite BB stating differently E&I have no mandate to spend large sums on a personal whim.

Election Issues

"Mr Guthrie said the reflecting action of the waves had led to a fall in the level of sand in the beach - a point that was disputed by more than one audience member"

Mr Guthrie of Royal Haskoning. In 2012, Guernsey was advised to spend over 50 million on sea defences by 2032, to avoid significant flooding. A study by consultants, Royal Haskoning recommended a series of high priority projects.

Urgent improvements to defences at L'Eree Bay involving a rock revetment extending out 30m from the sea wall for 3.3 million. This report also advised spending millions on near shore breakwater at Cobo. Also Baie de Port Grat and Pecqueries, Saline Bay, Rocquaine Bay, Belle Greve, Bordeaux, St Sampsons Harbour and Grande Havre appeared vulnerable to impact of the sea.

Millions and millions of pounds - L'Ancresse will cost in the region of 2.7million to create a 'sub bay' using breakwaters but the 'preferred' option for over a million pounds will see 2 protective rock groynes being built so the removal of the wall between groynes 'should' allow the 'redevelopment' of a sandy beach........

As Deputy Inder says, it is, to a degree, a bit of an experiment.


As the Germans built it, maybe we can ask Mrs Merkel for a bung towards the costs?

Sam O

Election issues,

It's a total experiement even the speaker admitted their idea of the finished bay was only a projection. What happens if it doesn't go quite right, we will have lost 200 mtrs of wall and the States will have ongoing expenses on that area as well as all the other projects recommended for work.

Gary Blanchford