CONSTRUCTION is forging ahead on “potentially life saving scheme” that will protect about 1,650 Rhyl homes.

Despite concerns that Covid-19 could derail the proposed £27million East Rhyl Coastal Defence Scheme, fencing on the construction complex has been completed.

The complex - which runs from WHERE TO WHERE - has been put in place by main contractor Balfour Beatty to ensure it can adhere to the UK guidelines around Covid 19 set in April.

Cllr Brian Jones, the council’s lead member for waste, transport and the environment, said: “We’ve kept working safely since April with the Covid-19 guidelines, and now it’s all guns blazing on the project. There was a debate about whether it could go ahead, but we have an its going really well.

“The compound was completed at the back of last week, the fencing is up and I believe all the signage is place for the compound, which means the workers have a place where they safely work and take rest breaks.”

The proposed scheme involves the placement of 128,000 tonnes of rock armour in front of the existing sea defences at East Rhyl, as well as 600 metres of new sea defence wall and promenade.

As a result of the work so far on the project - which began in April and is expected to be completed by April 2022 - the Welsh Government is also considering similar schemes in Central; Rhyl and Central Prestatyn.

A spokesperson for Denbighshire county Council DCC said: “Welsh Government have agreed to 100 percent fund the detailed design and full business case stage for both the long term flood defence schemes for Central Rhyl and Central Prestatyn schemes and this is welcome news. This is in line with Welsh Government’s announcement in April that the design phase of all future flood and coastal defence schemes in Wales would be funded at 100 percent.

It’s too early to start discussing the funding of the schemes, as the detailed designs are not expected until April 2022. Once the business case has been received, along with detailed costings, the Council will be exploring the funding options.”

Vale of Clwyd MS Ann Jones said: “I am very pleased that the work on the flood defences at Rhyl East are underway. This was a major commitment by Welsh Government to ensure that properties are protected from future flooding.

“The £27million pound investment was agreed by the Minister for Environment Lesley Griffiths back in March and signalled that Welsh Government despite having to repurpose their budgets to deal with the pandemic are prepared to continue to look at those projects that offer reassurance to our communities.”

“The recent statement by the Minister also sets out her clear intention that essential flood defence works including bids for new projects will be encouraged by Local Authorities and that the WG will be offering a full 100 percent costs of feasibility studies for these projects with a WG grant of those successful projects amounting to 85 percent of the project cost.”

However, despite the positive response from the Welsh Government, not everyone has been happy. with the construction on the Rhyl waterfrontA Journal reader criticised the council for creating a “ridiculous situation” for dog walkers by denying access to the beach from River Street to Rhyl Golf Club, while many more residents raised concerns on Facebook group The Rhyl Forum.

In response, Denbighshire County Council has relaxed the annual Public Space Protection Order which excludes dogs from the beach between May 1 and September 30, allowing dogs on a lead on the beach between River Street and Old Golf Road - providing they stay close to the sea wall.

Cllr Jones said: “ I know there’s been a hoo ha on social media about signage and from dog walkers, but by the time that was posted to the Rhyl forum we’d already taken action.The council did hold public consultations about the project at Rhyl Fire Station, so the residents have been informed.

“Balfour Beatty, for their part, have also hired a community officer Paul Smith, who has been in post since last week and is available to answer any questions and take suggestions. I know that a dog walker has suggested alterations Rhyl Golf Club, and they are being looked at now.

“This East Rhyl project is a little bit of pain for a lot of gain - and the gain is obviously 1,650 properties protected and potentially a life saving scheme.”