Stokes Bay car park to remain shut for another summer

Photo: Fenced off car park at Stokes Bay

Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas

A popular seaside car park which was closed more than a year ago is unlikely to re-open until next summer.

Stokes Bay East car park – near the entrance to The Alverbank Hotel – was fenced off after storms Brendan, Ciara and Dennis in January and February 2020 caused the beach level to fall below the level of the foundations.

As a precaution, the car park was closed so that the damage could be investigated and monitored in order to decide on the best way to repair the seawall.

A report presented to Gosport Borough Council’s Community Board in March of this year noted that since 2012 the council has spent £230,000 on repairs to the Stokes Bay seawall but, “it remains in a fair to poor condition and will continue to deteriorate as the structure ages.”

Working with Coastal Partners – previously Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership – the remedial work on the seawall has been agreed at an estimated cost of £410,000. This is being funded by a grant of £50,000 from Hampshire County Council with the rest coming from the borough council’s Non-Housing Capital Programme.

At the board meeting in March it was expected that the reconstruction work could be completed and the car park reopened by September this year.

However, this week the council informed The Globe: “Whilst we had hoped to start construction works later in 2021, this has not proved possible. Works are now expected to be [started] in Spring 2022, due to the environmental restrictions associated with winter working. The project is due to be completed ready for Summer 2022”.

Also, a study will be carried out to find a long-term solution to the erosion of the seawall at the bay and, as stated in the officer’s report to the Community Board, “identify wider objectives … such as regeneration, growth and wellbeing, rather than just those associated with flood defences.”

It is still possible for pedestrians to walk along the path on the sea side at that part of Stokes Bay.

But the car park closure for another summer will be a disappointment for those who like to drive to the car park in order to enjoy the views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.

For the council it is a ‘double whammy” – as well as the cost of the repairs it will also lose the revenue from the car parking charges for a second year.

The other car parks at Stokes Bay remain open.

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