Department of Infrastructure- Proposed Flood Defence Works

Following a meeting February the Department of Infrastructure asked their consultant engineers, JBA Consulting, to provide images that would indicate what their proposed flood defence works would look like. The images are attached to this post showing the existing areas and what they would look like following any works. Copies of the images are available in the Town Hall.

Port St Mary Commissioners are meeting with the Department and their engineers on 23rd July to express any views received from the village.  Any comments should be left on this website, emailed to or left on our facebook page. Alternatively comments on paper can be received at the Town Hall.


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  • Liam

    This works at gansey seem extremely obtrusive and would make the well used beach virtually unusable for watersports and the like. Maybe more focus on the road including drainage.

  • Sarah Hickey

    Gansey beach is the only good surf beach on the Island and is used regularly by a large number of surfers, kayakers, swimmers, windsurfers, kite surfers, children playing and dog walkers. If this scheme is implemented it will be unusable for these activities and the Island will be left without a suitable venue for those learning to surf and enjoying the all the activities this beach has to offer.

    As well as being a valuable recreational beach, enabling Island residents to improve their physical fitness an mental well-being, it also generates income for the south of the Island. Many people who use the beach for these activities go on to eat out in the area afterwards or visit other attractions in the South of the Island.

    I’m aware that there are other nice beaches on the Island, but Gansey is the ONLY good surf beach – please don’t destroy it! Please take time to consider all other options as this scheme really will damage the appeal of the area for many users.

  • Dick Welsh

    Unbelievable. The best all multi-purpose beach on the Island destroyed for all. This is the best swimming beach and is enjoyed by families throughout the summer months, where families can bring their dogs as well to enjoy the beach. surfer, Kites surfers, Kayakers all use this beach and its safe environment. Please see sense and do not ruin one of the Island’s great assets.

  • Nicholas Davies

    I have concerns over this scheme.
    1. Its over the top (pardon the pun) for the western end of the beach. Wave height and strength are concentrated east of the middle towards Shore Hotel. Therefore west end placement will be a waste of money. Lapping over at the Western end will still take place as the scheme doesn’t appear to add height to the wall.
    2. The quarry doesn’t produce stone big enough – there is plenty of evidence to show that the current stones migrate down the beach and need continual remedial work. What is the cost of maintenance?
    3. It would be very useful to measure beach height and collect data, as it seems that the beach had been migrating eastwards for many years due to partical suspension. The reason I suspect is that the current stone placement has increased the amount of time that wave action can lift the seabed. In other words the current stone placement creates a wall for more of the time the tide is high, as opposed to the natural slope a beach makes. This is detrimental to the future of the bay.
    Sand and sediment deposition is visable from the air around high tide with typical SW F4-5 winds. I am an airline Pilot and it is very noticable. I have only observed this in the last few years out of the twenty five of flying into Ronaldsway. This can be observed from Howe hill.
    4. Loss of ameniety is considerable from the middle westwards. Does the scheme incorporate access or improved access from the far West slipway by the mill?
    5. I would prefer a less urgent more considered approach as a longterm scheme addressing the sunken main highway (probably due to liquidity of the sand due to poor drainage) and consideration to a new seawall and beach nourishment.
    6. I’m astonished that the Douglas prom regeneration scheme doesn’t address wave overtopping and that the new infrastructure would be at as much risk after as before, yet this scheme proposed seems to be over the top and unsightly. Please be more considerate to the coastal environment and ameniety. A scheme which address the future needs of climate change and guarentees the infrastructure and property.
    Thank you.

  • Jane Steele

    Please don’t spoil Gansey beach for all the surfers, kayakers etc. Gansey is one of the islands gems for water sports and as such should be preserved for locals and tourists alike. Look at other options please before it is ruined for ever.

  • Lawrence weatherill

    The pictures of the beach as now and then as proposed surely demonstrates what an outrageous idea it would be to remove the beach in full. Surely there are better options?

  • James Qualtrough

    This would be a real shame and make the beach unusable. It also doesn’t appear to be a long term solution. It may pass the problem in to another generation but what an ugly, expensive and restrictive band aid!

    I’m sure we can do better and come up with a permanent solution. Strengthening the sea wall and offshore defenses may be better. Maybe even an artificial reef that creates a breaker further out – would work for surfers wildlife and residents / road users.

  • James Betteridge

    The problem with this scheme is that you cannot stop the sea, physics dictates that energy can not be destroyed only transferred. This is why the proposed schemes needs such a large revetment to try and dissipate the energy, which in turn will destroy the surf amenity of the beach which is considerable, not to mention visual amenity. I would presume that the high value asset that the scheme intends to protect is the roadway to the south as single strip of housing is not beyond the realms of compensation. The scheme as is will probably not fulfil this aim, as water and energy will be dispersed to the creek at Kentraugh, causing the creek to fill and flood back onto the unprotected side of the road. If the flood waters picked up any debris and the bridge became blocked it will almost certainly flood back across and down the road rendering the defence useless. This risk could be avoided by moving the roadway behind the current houses, demolishing the current promenade and building a small pedestrianised version which would effectively run from the Shore around into Port St Mary. Which would improve the amenity value of the area thus bringing in increased economic benefits, particular if a water sports centre, cafes etc where included into the scheme whilst ensuring the long term viability of the crucial link to the south. I worry that JBAs scheme lacks imagination and shows little holistic understanding of costal defences. The marina proposals did not offer something which is not available elsewhere on island, where as the developing Gansey/Port St Mary in a more sustainable way that would benefit the entire island,

  • Gerry Quinn

    I am sure there is a necessity to build sea defences to protect property and roads, that take into consideration budget constraints and allowances.However the measures that are projected and planned seem likely to destroy many of the other attractions of the area that support the local community and economy. Although very often over looked many people visit Gansey beach for a variety of water sports and leisure activities, from various regions of the island, along with visitors from off island. It is the only real surf beach on the island, where the swell actually hits the beach and allows children and adults to surf properly and safely. The proposals can only be described as the further destruction of a local attraction and sport that this beach provides. Vision is needed to support the surrounding area and discussion with those concerned should take place to protect the interests of everyone. A lack of vision, insight and understanding of what Gansey Beach actually provides is quite apparent in your proposals. I hope that the concerns already expressed are taken into consideration and the matter addressed in accordance with what would be best for the whole community.

  • Steve Watt

    Having seen a lot of surfers and families making good use of the waves on Gansey beach this weekend I want to ask the powers that be to reconsider the options. In my opinion any scheme to protect the road that makes the beach less user friendly and more dangerous for children and novices in particular must be discounted on the grounds of safety. Expert surfers can go out into deeper water away from the rocks or elsewhere onto the reef breaks but the less experienced would usually be in the shallows, with the risk of getting dashed onto the new rocks by the breaking waves. In an age when we should be encouraging the Island’s youngsters to take up any healthy outdoor activity it would be short-sighted to effectively remove the best surfing beach that we have.

  • Carl Glover

    Please also consider the water sports before the rocks are placed on the beach; the works could destroy water sports on the Island. Gansey is the best beach on the Island for water sports.

    Surfing, kayaking, body boarding are all very popular along this stretch of beach, it is also safe, as it is a long stretch of beach. The works could result in children going in more dangerous stretches of water to surf.


  • Joe

    As a 15 year old local surfer at Gansey beach I have to say that protecting peoples houses and the road is crucial, but I am sure there is other ways of doing this without ruining the fun for kids and adults. For instance have you considered building the Gansey wall thicker and taller? Doing this would add extra protection to houses and roads and wouldn’t spoil water sports enthusiasts fun as it is one of the safest sand surf breaks on the island. Also since there is a younger generation that enjoys these activities Gansey beach keeps us out of trouble and keeps us occupied.

    Please can you consider different ways of solving this problem!


  • Mags

    A lot of people of all ages use Gansey Beach. This scheme would remove so much of it and would deprive these people of a valuable recreation space. It would also create a very unattractive area. Other, more knowledgeable people than I have given alternative solutions to the problem at Gansey, I haope that these are all explored before the final decision is made

  • Joe

    I know I have already commented on this post but another option is building a artificial reef which would benefit all. The reef would maker the waves break further out in the sea meaning that the force of the wave would be reduced. Also it would benefit surfers, tourists and even divers. The artificial reef would be environmentally friendly meaning that sea life would adapt the reef and use it as shelter.

  • Nigel

    What a shame to spoil a beautiful beach this is obviously going to spoil a lot of peoples enjoyment surfing /body boarding kayaking. Absolutely mad and costly

  • Carole

    There must be another solution to avoid the flooding! This is just a way to destroy an area that so many locals are using all year round for various reasons.
    Summer or winter Gansey beach seems to be the most popular one for surfers, kayakers, windsurfers, and is also used by sea swimmers, because it is safe at the moment.
    Please look at how many people use that beach and avoid ruining one of the Island’s best beach for water sport.

  • John Keggin

    Whilst it is important to protect peoples homes and the road from erosion and flood damage is a scheme of this nature at Gansey necessary?
    The surf beach here is the best on the island and it is an attraction for many locals and visitors. Using this amount of rock armour will wipe out a large section of the beach for recreational use. Are there other options that could be explored, for example strengthening the sea wall?

  • Justin

    I’ve lived on Gansey for over twenty years and have witness the worst of Titans fury during the two great storms. On both occasions the road was flooded for around and hour or two at most, mainly due to over topping and the seaweed blocking the road drainage system.

    I fail to see how the proposed rock armour will prevent what I witnessed and I feel there has got to be a better solution, maybe a similar idea to that at Port Erin or the creation of a proper sea wall? It’s fair to say this is probably the cheapest and easiest option initially, although the twice yearly re-stacking of the rock will incure significant costs going forward. We need to be more ambitious and build something that will serve the community for years to come.

    I am constantly amazed by the amount and variety of people that use this beach through out the year particularly when it’s a windy day in Port Erin. As others have said in previous comments this is probably one of the best on the Iisland and certainly the best for water sports? The proposed rock armour will virtually eliminate its use and we all know that once an amenity has gone it’s unlikely to ever be reinstated.

    A number of years ago Port St Mary Commisioners faced a similar decision about the cat walk, thankfully they fought tooth and nail to have it reinstated…….Hopefully they will show the same fight again!

  • Debbie

    This scheme appears to completely destroy Gansey beach as we know it. As a regular swimmer there I would be extremely sad to see this work go ahead. As well as open water swimmers, Gansey is used a lot by surfers, windsurfers and bodyboarders and the beach is great for families. Last week it was wonderful to see the cubs and beavers using it for a barbeque where there were loads of children in and out of the water, rock pooling and playing ball games on the beach. It is such a wonderful asset to the Island. Please reconsider.

  • Peter

    Looking at the proposed sea wall defences I’m simply amazed that this is seriously being considered, like many comments it shows a clear lack of thought for the access and usage of the beach and simply destroys what is a picturesque bay with a large mound of rocks.

    I’ve been a regular visitor to the bay and what was once a gentle shelving beach some 15-20 years ago has in my eyes already been compromised by the current sea defences, it is apparent the combination of concrete sea wall defences and rock have resulted in a drop in the beach level with deposition of pebbles east of the bay. The sea wall defences have already been damaged and are in need of a longer term strategy.

    I appreciate the need to improve sea defences and placing additional rock is a relatively cheap short term option, this comes at a cost to aesthetics and public usage and it is unlikely to be something that would be easily removed at a later point to address the sea defence issue properly. Let’s face it dumping tons of rock will dissipate and delay the damage caused by hydraulic action of water but it will not prevent ongoing damage to the sea wall.

    What other options have been considered e.g. creation of an artificial reef would dissipate wave power and make for an additional tourist attraction of surfing waves or is there simply a need to take a longer term view and improve the concrete defences to cope better with dissipating waves and holding up to winter storms.

    I really hope this proposal is not simply progressed because of a lack of thought and an aim for putting a short term fix as cheap as possible.

  • Rachel Crellin

    Whilst there is a clear need to protect the road and houses from storms this plan would appear to make watersports in the area an impossibility. Gansey is hugely popular with windsurfers, kitesurfers, kayakers, swimmers, body boarders, dog walkers and beach goers – these plans would appear to act against all such interest groups. Gansey is unique amongst the island’s beaches in offering a safe place for a wide range of activities year round. Please consider all users of this beach before reaching a decision, such a precious (and priceless) resource surely need not be lost. Be sure to listen to the public outcry regarding these proposals.

  • Richard

    This ruins the beach for the public in the interests of a handful of houses. The focus should be on reducing the impact of the inevitable flooding (which is inevitable and cannot be prevented) rather than trying to stop flooding altogether. This would be better done by ensuring that the road drains properly.

    The surfers, kayakers, kite-surfers, wind surfers, swimmers, dinghy sailors, body-boarders and many others who enjoy and use this beach have been completely disregarded. Spending money to try and mitigate the power of the sea is a fool’s errand. Don’t be fools.

  • Jennifer Davies

    Please do reconsider these proposals – I realise that it’s important to protect property and infrastructure, however this should not be done at the expense of losing a wonderful and popular beach that is used year round by a significant amount of people.

  • Rebecca

    There must be a better way to protect the houses and roadways in the area without destroying a much used and valued beach which is utilised year round by a vast number of people – both local to Gansey and those that travel from around the Island. Is this an issue that has to be remedied immediately or is there scope for further exploration into a more suitable and less limiting solution? Surely we can afford a longer consultation, rather than a knee-jerk reaction which, once implemented, will ruin a beautiful and popular destination for a number of visitors and local residents.

  • Rosie

    I’m trying to be positive but honestly, instead of going in all guns blazing as usual, why not do some professional research? This would give you the information you really need & then base a decision on that! Yes we need to protect our environment & our infrastructure so let’s do it properly please!

  • Neill Clague

    This will not kill off watersports on this beach because watersports enthusiasts will continuue to use it as best as they can. However, what it will do is make Gansey extremely dangerous for those users.
    The potential for serious injury is there for all to see.

  • Ian

    I have struggled to find any documentation about the proposed scheme that the drawings are based on. I think it is hard to understand the full impact that the scheme would have from the artist’s impression alone, but it would seem from the drawings that the proposal is to basically replace the beach with similar rip-rap boulders?

    I have several questions/concerns about this:

    1) What are the reasons for improving the flood defences in the first place:
    – Is flooding a major issue here?
    – What is the flooding frequency? Does it happen once a year or once a month?
    – What damage is caused when it does flood?
    – What is the cost to the tax payer to repair the damage?
    – Where are the stats to make the business case for the spend improving the defences?

    2) What are the objectives that the flood defences must achieve?
    – Must it stop the water from breaching at a very high tide or is it just to stop the water from breaching due to wave activity?
    – Must it stop the sand from moving?
    – Is it to protect the road?

    3) What alternatives have been considered?
    – I did read about the option of a higher wall which would disrupt the view, what about other methods?
    – Has something like an artificial reef been considered? Perhaps something at bit more imaginative could actually improve the surf conditions at the beach, attracting more people to the bay and having a positive benefit to the community and local economy.

    4) Has there been an environmental impact assessment and what was the result?
    – Would this generate more noise?
    – Would it affect the seaweed deposits in other areas (similar to the problem in Douglas)?
    – Would it affect the way the sand moves on the beach? (or what’s left of it)
    – Would it affect local wildlife?

    5) What would the impact on tourism be?
    – What is the estimated tourism use of this beach?
    – Would the proposed scheme stop tourism activities?
    – What is the estimated contribution to the local economy from tourism?

    6) What would the impact be on local leisure activities?
    – Gansey bay is a very popular and very safe (once the tide falls below the existing boulders) with a variety of water sport enthusiasts.
    – Would the proposed scheme block safe access to this bay?

    7) What would the impact be on housing prices on Shore road?
    – Would have detrimental effect to the housing prices as they would no longer be adjacent to a picturesque beach?
    – Would house owners be compensated if this is the case?

    8) What would the impact on public safety be?
    – It looks like the proposed scheme would inhibit access to the bay. I think this is unlikely to deter some water sport users. I think people would still access the bay which would presumably just become very much more risky at for a longer period of time based on tide conditions.
    – What is the risk of people climbing on the revetment (especially for young people). Gansey bay is easily accessed by foot so the likelihood that people will climb on the rocks is very high and the severity of injury would presumably be very high – an accident or fatality waiting to happen.

    From the artist’s impression, I think the scheme would decimate one of the safest and most pleasant beaches on the Isle of Man and would render it useless for anyone who enjoys it any way today. I also think it would be a massive loss to the community, not just in the local area but for the whole Island, and tourists alike.

  • Lenny Conroy

    I would like to add my grievance at what is being considered and looks like a very quick fix with no consideration of it’s impact.I organise the New Year dips and Gansey has always featured for the last 15 years. Sadly we have had to move it across past the stream (making it less of a spectator event and more survival) due to the way the rocks are currently situated around the old slipway. The new proposals will make matters more difficult for sure and as has been noted many times,the many users of the beach will have less of a lovely beach to enjoy.
    It is noted that Chapel Beach wall has never been breached in all it’s time and although not getting the direct waves like Gansey,it does get it’s fair share of swell,waves and the design of the wall,also on a bend, ensures the waves flip back on themselves. Simple and effective old design.That in itself would be a better alternative to what we have there now. I do hope the DOI will reconsider and take on board the many suggestions put forward. A man-made reef further out sounds a great plan and am sure can be discussed with local fishermen who ply their trade close to shore.
    Listen to the public please and lose your rocks!

  • Mrs C Davies

    At one time this was arguably the best beach in the Island.Safe bathing, good mix of fine gravel and sand and interesting rock pools . It was popular with all age groups and because of its size afforded plenty of space for all activities. Access was good and SAFE. Now it is virtually inaccessible for most of the year.
    In recent years due to storms damage has occurred Since then panic mode has set in, and several attempts have been made to rectify this with disastrous results on the amenity value of the beach and damage to its infrastructure. Sand has drifted to Fishers hill beach, surely an indication of the damage the granite blocks are causing? The blocks simply give spring tides a helping hand , and driven by the wind still flood the road.
    Surely the answer at the beginning should have been careful consideration to construction of a proper sea wall ? This should be still the main consideration , it is a well known fact that obstacles placed on beaches cause problems further along the coast.

  • Harry Davies

    As a longtime resident of the area (Ballakillowey) and user of Gansey, I emplore you to consider potential other flood defences which would not require the desecration of this well loved beach. I fail to believe that the best course of action should come at the detriment to such a large stakeholder group.

    What research has been done into appropriate flood defences, and by what group? How long will this proposal be effective, until yet more needs to be done?

    A man made reef out in the bay would provide dissipation of wave energy, reducing stress on the current wall, while providing a potential habitat for local fauna and flora. There are already several examples of where this has been a success, Bournemouth, England coming to mind. I am also aware that this is not the first time a proposal for an articial reef at Gansey has been voiced; was research not done by members of the University of Southampton a few years ago?

    Please consider all available options before going ahead with the proposed scheme, especially when it looks to negatively impact such a large proportion of stakeholders.

  • Lisa Creighton

    PLEASE reconsider this ill-advised plan. It’s ugly, it will ruin the best water sports beach on the island, it won’t last and it doesn’t seem to address the problem adequately anyway. There must be a better solution.

  • Graham Hall

    Reinforcing the sea defences with more of the same would seem the wrong thing to do as after really big storms, the contractors are paid to restore the damaged defences. More of the same will only lumber the rate payers with a long term cost.
    Historically the land was marsh and dunes and has been reclaimed and built upon. Unfortunately nature keeps telling us that it was not such a good idea to do that. A rethink is required.

  • Catriona Watt

    While there may be a need to ensure the stability of the road and the houses along the beach, the loss of what appears to be the majority of the beach seems to be an extreme measure.

    The proposed solution would appear to make the beach unusable/inaccessible to many groups of people – walkers, surfers, kayakers, kite surfers, sea swimmers, children. Last week there were possibly 50 people, all enjoying a sunny evening on the beach – playing, swimming, rockpooling, barbequing. While Port Erin is nearby, the different aspects of the two beaches mean that when wind conditions at one are unsuitable the other beach is suitable.

    It is also apparent that the existing blocks move significantly during storms and I worry seeing children scrambling over the blocks that someone will slip and get stuck. Covering the beach in these blocks would only increase the potential for this to happen.

    Please reconsider this proposal.

  • Simon K

    Many people would be devastated at the loss of this facility, as one of many who regular surf here I can vouch that this is the only safe beachbreak that our island offers and this proposed defence would either push those wanting to enjoy waves out into the advanced surf breaks off PSM. Not only are these dangerous to the individuals in the water but to those who will invariably be called out to effect a rescue when they get in difficulties. Or it would deter anyone from starting a surf hobby at all.

    Other than the groups of surfers, kayakers and swimmers. This change would withdraw the seaside section of the wall as a picnic area for families etc, and anyone trying to keep out of the wind and enjoying the beach at all times of year.

    This is by far the best and cleanest beach on our island, please don’t ruin it.

  • David

    I find it quite incredible that DOI can even consider such a proposal. The existing boulders are an eyesore and are clearly not particularly effective as a sea defence; what makes them think that by dumping more of these unsightly boulders and completely ruining what remains of one of the Island’s more beautiful and well used beaches, they are doing any good to anyone is beyond me. If people choose to live on Gansey Beach it is their choice; they know that for maybe half a dozen days per year they may not be able to get out of their drives; surely its their choice and a compromise for having such beautiful views. Prior to the boulders being placed on Gansey beach many years ago it was a incredibly busy and popular beach; the far end by the Pottery remains popular with holiday makers, surfers, kayakers etc etc; what DOI are proposing will ruin these activities and create an even greater eyesore in an area which is only generally affected by the very worst SW storms or S.Easterly gales (but generally this end of the beach is protected by the Scarlett Peninsula). The Commissioners are there to support the community; they should throw this straight back to DOI and tell them to think again….

  • D Shaw

    Unfortunately I am unable to make the proposed meeting on the 12th November so I have added my comments and questions below..

    I would like to see a copy of the UK consultants, JBA Consulting Limited, report to understand the data that supports additional flood defenses at Brewery Beach and why additional rock armor is considered the best option. I appreciate there is a duty to protect the road and residents at Gansey but this needs to be carefully measured against what will effectively destroy Brewery Beach as a usable amenity and asset.

    I use the beach daily for dog walking. In the summer we often take our young son to the beach for the day. It has some of the best water quality on the Island and its used by swimmers, surfers, kayakers and additional rock armor is going to reduce accessibility, completely obscure the remaining sandy areas and is going to look an absolute eye sore. At the moment the existing armour is at least obscured by the wall.

    My concern is, without proper data, this appears a very reactive solution when the underlying issue(s) has not been explained or published. I want to see a more considerate longer term solution at the very least evaluated before additional rock armor is dumped on the beach.

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