Littlehaven beach lies off the small coastal town of South Shields, South Tyneside, in the north east of England. Royal HaskoningDHV initially developed the Shoreline Management Plan for the region’s coastline. This identified that the existing Littlehaven seawall was in poor condition but also out of step with local coastal processes as it protruded across the beach, making it vulnerable to wave attack and overtopping. The existing area was also run down and of low amenity value so attracted limited numbers of members of the public, despite being close to the town centre and other coastal amenity areas.
Royal HaskoningDHV designed the new seawall to be ‘set back’ on a curved alignment that better matched the natural curved shape of the beach. This allowed a wider beach to be created, which acts to dissipate wave energy, meaning the new seawall structures could be designed in a more efficient way. Transplanting of sand dune plants was also undertaken in the northern part of the site, beyond the extent of the seawall, in order to balance small areas of lost habitat as well as to strength the existing sand dunes against storm events. The new seawall consisted of a wide promenade, which acts as a canvas for public art, seating and provides amenity. There is a stepped revetment, which allows public access to the wider beach. Lighting, planting and other improved facilities have also been incorporated to make an attractive seafront which now attracts significant numbers of visitors as well as providing flood protection to the backing land.
RHDHV undertook site surveys, the business case, numerical modelling, outline and detailed design, obtaining licenses and consents and site supervision.
Technical Director, Water
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK