Ceredigion planners have backed changes to Aberaeron’s coastal defence scheme, which will see a simpler barrier design following public concerns.

A Ceredigion County Council application before members of the council’s development management committee, meeting on 14 February, sought permission to omit approved hydraulic tilt barriers at four locations along the town’s Quay Parade and at Pwll Cam, replacing them with manual bi-fold swing gates.

The application – together with a related listed building consent – was recommended for approval, with officers stressing the only change was to the simpler operating mechanism.

Aberaeron sea defence
Work on the scheme has begun in Aberaeron (LDRS)

A report for members said: “In summary, concerns were raised with regard to the operation, effectiveness, and public safety aspect of the approved hydraulic tilt barriers.”

It cited a list of advantages to the change, some one year on from the overall scheme’s initial approval, including the manual operation would lessen the need for heavy machinery during construction works.

“All gates are unchanged with regard to their material, length and height, and the colour of the gates is shown to be unchanged from that approved, finished in a dark grey colour,” the report said.

It added the change from tilt barrier to bi-fold “will naturally result in the gates standing upright against the harbourside of the approved flood wall when open – that being the sole visual change”.

The application was unanimously approved by committee members.

Last August, it was announced that works to protect Aberaeron from flooding with a new coastal defence scheme had obtained Welsh Government funding of nearly £27m.

The £31.59m Aberaeron Coastal Defence Scheme is funded through a £26.85m contribution from the Welsh Government’s Coastal Risk Management Programme, together with a £4.74m contribution from Ceredigion County Council.

The scheme includes the construction of a rock breakwater extending out from North Pier, refurbishment and re-building of pier head of South Pier, construction of flood walls, construction of flood gate at Pwll Cam inner harbour and improvements to the existing defences on South Beach.

The scheme itself was approved at the February 2023 meeting of Ceredigion County Council’s Development Management Committee, with BAM Nuttall Ltd the construction contractors.