THE PROJECT executive of the Central Rhyl Coastal Defence Schemes has said the ongoing works are “absolutely essential” to protect the town from flooding.

Tony Ward, corporate director for environment and economy at Denbighshire County Council, has urged residents to “look beyond the short-term”, and believes that “the future is bright” for Rhyl.

The Rhyl project, which, along with a similar development in Prestatyn, is worth a combined £97million, is designed to protect properties along the town’s coastline.

Today (March 15), the Journal saw how work along Rhyl’s promenade is progressing, with the project on track to be completed by autumn 2025.

It is estimated that approximately 550 residential and 45 non-residential properties will be protected through this scheme.

Though, in the last 12 months, the Drift Park children’s seafront play area has been demolished, as have a number of kiosks, while Rhyl’s SeaQuarium has closed, attributing its decision to the impact of the works on its animals.


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Mr Ward said: “It’s a really necessary project for Rhyl. Without this work, the town is really exposed to coastal flooding.

“We saw the devastating impact of that in 2013, with residents having to be evacuated from their homes and not being able to return to them for a long time.

“We clearly need this scheme to protect Rhyl from a similar event; it’s absolutely essential to protect both residential properties and businesses.

“The downside of it is that, while we’re doing it, there is obviously quite a lot of disruption, so we do ask for people to bear with us while we do the work.

Rhyl Journal: Progress at Rhyl's coastal defence worksProgress at Rhyl's coastal defence works (Image: Newsquest)

“Once the scheme is finished, not only will it protect the town from coastal flooding, but I think the promenade will look a lot nicer, as well.

“It’ll be a lot wider and more open, so it will improve the aesthetics of the area.

“We can’t achieve what we want to achieve in terms of economic growth in Rhyl while the town is so exposed to coastal flooding.”

The stormy weather which hit North Wales at the end of 2023 and the start of 2024 has not held up the works, meanwhile, due to them not coinciding with periods of high tide.

Work began 12 months ago, with the promenade being elevated by roughly 1.5m as part of the development.

Rhyl Journal: Progress at Rhyl's coastal defence worksProgress at Rhyl's coastal defence works (Image: Newsquest)

A new revetment, made up of 760 pre-cast concrete panels, is also in the process of being installed.

Mr Ward added: “There’s a short-term impact, but we’ve got to look beyond the two years of the build. This is a scheme that will protect the town for 100 years or more.

“I think the council would rightly be criticised if we didn’t do this kind of work. I just ask people to look beyond the short-term.

“With a project like this, there will always be some disruption, but before we know it, we’ll be through it, and we can then focus on other projects to try and regenerate the town further.

“The future’s bright, I would say.”

Rhyl Journal: Progress at Rhyl's coastal defence worksProgress at Rhyl's coastal defence works (Image: Newsquest)

Funding for the Rhyl and Prestatyn projects is provided by both Denbighshire County Council and Welsh Government.

Mr Ward also stressed that the council and SeaQuarium had “amicable” discussions, with the attraction closing last November after being open for more than 30 years.

A children’s play area will also have been reinstated along the promenade in place of Drift Park by the time the project is completed.

SeaQuarium claimed that “the noise, disruptions and vibrations from coastal defence works has and will continue to impact the welfare of our animals, to the point where we believe it is in the interest of their welfare if we rehome them”.

Denbighshire County Council spent £90,000 on rehoming the attraction’s six seals following its closure.

Rhyl Journal: A projected image of Rhyl's promenade once the works are completedA projected image of Rhyl's promenade once the works are completed (Image: Denbighshire County Council)

Mr Ward added: “The agreement we came to with SeaQuarium was something which was done jointly; we’re not at loggerheads, and never have been with them.

“The discussions we had were always amicable, and the end course of action was by mutual agreement.

“Projects like this are really complicated, and our initial hope was to deliver this scheme and SeaQuarium stay open throughout.

“That hasn’t ended up being the outcome, but hopefully, we’ll soon be able to say more about what our future plans are for that area.”

Rhyl Journal: Coastal works in RhylCoastal works in Rhyl (Image: Denbighshire County Council)

In terms of what’s next for the coastal works in Rhyl, he said: “It’s really just moving further along down by where SeaQuarium is, and trying to finish off those revetments and pre-cast units as soon as we can.”

Work on the new Rhyl coastal defences is being carried out by Balfour Beatty, while more than 140 people have been employed on both Rhyl and Prestatyn schemes in the past year.

The East Rhyl scheme, meanwhile, was completed ahead of schedule and under budget last May.