Welsh Government has approved the next step for a proposed sea flood defence scheme in Porthcawl which will see major work undertaken on the Western Breakwater, Eastern Promenade and Sandy Bay areas of the town.

The project which is estimated to be around £6m is being led by Bridgend County Borough Council and aims to protect more than 500 homes and over 170 businesses in the town.

A recent study shows the Eastern Promenade sea wall and Western Breakwater structures are deteriorating and becoming more susceptible to overtopping. Flood defences at Sandy Bay, Western Breakwater and Rhych Point are all earmarked for an upgrade as part of the work.

Earlier this year, the council submitted a full business case to Welsh Government for the work and has now received approval to begin the tender process to gain firm costs for the scheme.

Subject to the tender appraisal, Welsh Government would provide 85 per cent of the funding with the balance funded by the local authority.

The Leader, Cllr Huw David, said: “This is brilliant news. The scheme is a vital part of the infrastructure for defending the town against flooding, and unlocking future development in the Salt Lake area of Porthcawl.”

Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration, Cllr Charles Smith, added: “The ongoing commitment is excellent news for Porthcawl and the county borough, and will enable us now to crack on with the regeneration plans for the town.

“This ongoing protection will provide assurance to the community and all who continue to live, work, visit and invest in the area.

“If the structures were to fail, a retreat of the shoreline position throughout Sandy Bay would be expected.

“It would also result in up to 531 residential and 175 non-residential properties being at flood risk.”

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “I am very pleased to note that this important work is developing, and that we have been able to approve the next phase in the development of the scheme.

“As a government, we want to make it as easy as possible for local authorities to progress with and plan for works such as these, which is why earlier this year we increased the funding available through our Flood and Coastal Risk Management Programmes.

“All preparatory work for schemes is now funded 100 per cent by Welsh Government, while our contribution towards coastal schemes has increased from 75 per cent to 85 per cent. This will allow hard-pressed local authorities to be more pro-active when planning future flood defences, against the backdrop of the February storms and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“I look forward to receiving an application for the funding of flood defence construction work once this tender has concluded.”

The scheme seeks to maintain sea defences and to protect properties within Porthcawl to meet the long term needs of residents, with allowance for sea level rise to year 2118, in accordance with current guidance.

The structures protect several million pounds worth of assets and infrastructure along the Western Breakwater and Eastern Promenade including the walkways, both the commercial businesses and the properties within the Jennings building, and properties that would otherwise be impacted by flooding events from the Porthcawl seafront.

The defences also protect other commercial properties and utilities like gas, water and sewers along the seafront which provide important benefits to both employment and the economy of Porthcawl.

The sea wall at Eastern Promenade was constructed in the 1860s to form part of the inner harbour.

The Western Breakwater was first built in the 1820s and extended in the 1860s – it is often seen in photos when large waves crash over.

A public consultation in Porthcawl took place on the plans in February 2019.

It follows a successful £3m project to replace sea defences at Town Beach which has helped to protect 260 homes, businesses and historic buildings such as the Grand Pavilion.