"Close off the prom before a child is killed" warns Morecambe shop boss

February 12, 2020

The boss of a Morecambe music shop fears a child might drown while 'wave-dodging' unless the promenade is closed off during high tides.

David Wood, owner of Promenade Music on Marine Road East, has called on Lancaster City Council to install floodgates on the sea wall opposite his shop before somebody is killed by massive waves sweeping over onto the prom.

Mr Wood said it was "irresponsible and dangerous" not to use the 'storm boards' to block direct access to the pedestrian area of the seafront during high tide, and is worried a child might slip on debris and be dragged into the fast-flowing bay.

He and his staff have watched in horror over the past few days while children have played at dodging the massive waves battering the prom during and in the aftermath of Storm Ciara.

The council has called on people to be extra vigilant during stormy weather and heed official warnings.

On Monday, Lancaster City Council put 'storm boards' in the gaps on the wave reflection wall from Rydal Road in Heysham to Central Drive in Morecambe, as waves crashed over onto the promenade in the strong winds.

But none were put in near Mr Wood's shop in an area used by many schoolchildren, although large waves continued to pummel the prom on Monday and Tuesday.

"I think there is a risk to life due to the non deployment of these floodgates, said Mr Wood.

"Kids are coming out after school and can get direct access onto the promenade. We've been watching them wave-hopping. All it takes is for one of them to slip on the stones which have been washed over onto the seafront, and they could get dragged under the railings by the tide.

"This time, nobody has been killed. But if they keep on not putting the boards up, I think they are asking for trouble.

"I know the kids are having a bit of fun, and if one jumps over a floodgate, there's nothing can be done about it. But at the moment I don't think the council is doing everything it can to protect the public."

A Lancaster City Council spokesperson said: "We understand Mr Wood’s concerns and have explained to him the reasons for the council’s decisions in relation to access to the promenade and placement of storm boards.

"We have also agreed to meet him next week to discuss in greater detail.

"The council would always advise people to be extra vigilant during periods of extreme weather and to avoid those areas which pose the greatest danger. However, it would be impossible to attempt to close the five mile long promenade due to the huge number of access points available, not all of which could be covered by the installation of storm boards.

"Our advice is for people to remain vigilant, heed any official warnings and take the appropriate action."

A flood alert remains in place for Morecambe today (Wednesday).

The tide is due to reach its peak of 10.11 metres at 1.30pm, a similar height to yesterday.

Fooding to roads and farmland is possible during today's high tide, however conditions may also apply two hours either side of 1.30pm.

Areas affected include low lying land, roads and coastal paths at White Lund, Heysham Moss, south Heysham, Potts Corner, Sunderland Point, Thurnham, Cockersands Abbey, Bank Houses, Cockerham, Braides, Cockerham Moss and surrounding areas.

The government's flood advice asks people to be careful along beaches, promenades, coastal footpaths and roads due to the dangerous large waves and sea spray.

Water levels in the Lune Estuary are also forecast to rise today, with high tide at 1.30pm. A flood alert remains in place in Lancaster, Skerton, Marsh, Aldcliffe Marsh, Heaton Marsh, Overton, Middleton, Glasson and Thurnham.

Photo by Joanne Wilkinson.