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Holiday village fears seawall work will hit trade

The waves crash against the seawall which is about to be reinforced
The waves crash against the seawall which is about to be reinforced

Shopkeepers are concerned that the £60m sea wall work will hit their summer season.

Traders in Dymchurch are watching the Environment Agency’s plans closely.

While the agency has assured traders it will not be working along the central beach front during the summer season, there are concerns the agency has not appreciated the length of summer in Dymchurch.

The work will start next month, rebuilding the wall as it runs through the village.

One trader told the Express that the money-spinning season in Dymchurch lasted from April through to September, and any curtailing of that would hit their businesses hard.

Another trader, Pauline Wild, of Pet Supplies, said: “With the economy as it is this is not going to help, and when people get here and see lorries and trucks working, they are not going to stop. It has got to be done, and we know that, but…”


Georgina Highson, of The Galley restaurant in Dymchurch High Street, said: “This will be very bad if people cannot get on to the beach. When the other part of the sea wall was done, access was completely blocked because of health and safety.

“Traders are concerned. We are worried car parking space will be lost when there is not enough anyway, traffic lights causing delays – especially on the busy August Bank Holiday – and that we won’t get the volume of visitors stopping here that we normally have during the summer months.” The Arcade employs many people in the summer months, selling ice cream from its beach-side window, and toys, newspapers and sweets inside. Anne Munce and Ursula Cowling are very concerned about the beach plans.

Anne said: “Our season starts at Easter and it will be very important to the village as the past two Augusts have had dreadful weather.”

Ursula said: “In Dymchurch there are a lot of jobs that are seasonal, and the traders are not going to want to employ these people because there will not be the trade. We get coachloads down from April onwards and where are they going to go?

“How can we sell ice cream and sweets if there is dust coming in from the beach works? They should have discussed this with us, but they didn’t talk to anyone who lives here.


“The other thing question is why aren’t they employing local people? There’s unemployment around here, so why not?

“If this hits the village, it will take years for it to come back.”

Letters have been sent to hundreds of residents in and around Dymchurch detailing the works, and an exhibition to display the plans will open at the Plater Hall, the former library building, in Dymchurch High Street tomorrow (Friday).

It will be open from noon to 7pm. Villagers can view plans and talk to the project team about the next stage, which will offer improved protection to more than 2,500 homes.

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