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Rock unloading

Rock unloading

Protection for Hastings harbour arm

The Hastings Harbour Arm is a very important structure on the Hastings frontage, which retains beach material that protects the town from flooding. Ongoing works are encasing the existing Hastings Harbour Arm in armour rock to help protect the Arm from further deterioration.

The first phase of the project, which was concrete refacing of the inner section of the Harbour Arm, was completed last year.

24,000 tonnes of 6 to 9 tonne granite rocks will be delivered on a barge from the Chywoon quarry in Cornwall. Once the rocks have been offloaded on the beach, excavators will place the rocks against the structure assisted by a virtual 3D model from a screen in their machines.

The works have been designed by engineers at Canterbury City Council working on behalf of Hastings Borough Council. Head of Engineering for Canterbury City Council, Liam Wooltorton says: “We’ve built a highly experienced and qualified team of engineers, who provide professional services to our partner councils and other external clients.

Local Authorities have greatly reduced their engineering capacity because of the squeeze on local government and the lack of certainty around externally funded work. So we really are at the forefront of delivering work on behalf of others.”

The works, carried out by JT Mackley & Co Ltd and Ovenden Earthmoving Company Ltd the specialist rock-moving subcontractor, are expected to be completed by mid-September. The £1.95M cost has been funded by the Environment Agency’s Flood Defence Grant in Aid programme.

5,000 tonnes of Cornish granite will be unloaded onto Hastings beach, just to the west of the harbour arm, on Thursday, 2 August around noon. The work has been underway since May, but up to now a smaller barge has been used; Thursday is the first time a larger, 5 000 tonne capacity vessel has been used.

The rock will be used to strengthen the harbour as part of improvements to the town’s sea defences. The granite blocks are unloaded at high tide and a digger is then used at low tide to manoeuvre the individual rocks into place on the harbour.

Below are photos of the smaller barge unloading at high tide and the diggers placing the granite at low tide, giving you an idea of the work in progress:

Rock unloading 1 240518 lores

Harbour arm works infill 260718 lores

Rock unloading 2 240518 lores


Harbour arm works giant diggerland 260718 lores

Harbour arm works unloading from dumper 260718 lores




Existing 3D model

Existing 3D model

Proposed 3D model

Proposed 3D model

Proposed 3D Plan

Proposed 3D plan

Posted 14:50 Wednesday, Aug 1, 2018 In: Home Ground


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  1. Chris Lewcock

    PS Should have added that I was a bit puzzled by the reference to Hastings Borough Council. The arm is actually on Foreshore Trust land (who brushed aside HUDG suggestions to create an accessible deck – see link) and the work is being paid for by the Environment Agency.

    Comment by Chris Lewcock — Friday, Aug 3, 2018 @ 17:29

  2. Phil

    How tremendous it would be if, after the holes are filled, the whole of the harbour arm could be given an accessible flat top. I wonder if this has been considered (and abandoned?). If anyone has info on this I’d love to hear.

    Comment by Phil — Thursday, Aug 2, 2018 @ 23:08

  3. Chris Lewcock

    You may also wish to see some (purely speculative) ideas about the Harbour Arm on the Hastings Urban Design website under “News and Views”.

    Comment by Chris Lewcock — Thursday, Aug 2, 2018 @ 21:19

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