Decision details

West Kirby Flood Alleviation Scheme

Decision Maker: Director of Neighbourhood Services

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


Authority was delegated to the Director of Neighbourhood Services by the Environment Climate Emergency and Transport Committee on 15 November 2021 for the award of contracts for the West Kirby Flood Alleviation scheme procured using the Environment Agency’s Collaborative Delivery Framework.

This report requests the Director of Neighbourhoods to award a New Engineering Contract version 4 Engineering Construction Contract (ECC) for the construction and delivery of the scheme at South Parade, West Kirby to reduce the risk of tidal flooding through the construction of a curvilinear flood wall, reconstruction of the promenade and public realm improvements to the Old Baths Site and highway. The scheme also provides a reduction in flood risk, through improvements in protection, to the Wirral Sailing Centre and West Kirby Sailing Club.


That a contract be awarded to Volkerstevin Ltd with a value of £9,640,000 for the delivery of the West Kirby Flood Alleviation Scheme including reconstruction of the promenade on a piled foundation, installation of pre-cast wave wall units on a pile foundation and public realm improvements to the Old Baths Site, highway and landward footway.

Reasons for the decision:

1.1  The Shoreline Management Plan for the Wirral coast was approved by the Cabinet in September 2010. The Shoreline Management Plan identifies a Hold the Line Policy for West Kirby until 2110. The Wirral Coastal Strategy, approved at Cabinet in October 2013, identified that a Hold the Line Policy could be delivered by the management of flood risk through the construction of a secondary linear defence. The Wirral Coastal Strategy also identified that West Kirby was Wirral’s highest priority for intervention for the management of flood and coastal erosion risk


1.2  A Project Appraisal Report set out the business case for a flood alleviation scheme at West Kirby and determined the preferred option was through the construction of a flood wall. The Project Appraisal Report was approved by the Environment Agency’s National Project Assurance Board in January 2018 thereby providing technical and financial approval for the scheme. Following two periods of public consultation the final proposals for the scheme were submitted to the Local Planning Authority in November 2020 and consent for the scheme was given on 2nd November 2021 following a decision by the Strategic Planning Sub-Committee.


1.3  The associated planning conditions for the West Kirby Flood Alleviation scheme required the main construction activities to be undertaken during the period April to October in order to minimise noise and disturbance to the adjacent Dee Estuary which provides habitat for over-wintering and migratory bird populations.


1.4  The funding secured through approval of the Project Appraisal report in January 2018 has increased, via approved grant variations and additional capital funding, as the scheme has developed as a result of consultation and also as a result of design changes following significant ground investigation works. Recent increases in material costs because of worldwide market volatility have also increased the scheme’s cost. However, there is sufficient budget and a sufficient risk allowance to allow for award of the contract to Volkerstevin at Target Cost of £9.64m.

Alternative options considered:

2.1  The Wirral Coastal Strategy and West Kirby Flood Alleviation Project Appraisal Report considered many options to manage flood risk at West Kirby;

  • Nearshore coastal defences (e.g. breakwater seaward of the Marine Lake);
  • Enhancement of the defence around the seaward edge of the Marine Lake;
  • Beach Recharge and Management;
  • Improving the primary defence along the promenade/marine lake boundary;
  • Creation of natural soft defences along the frontage e.g. dune belt or green beach;
  • Urban planning, including progressive removal of more vulnerable property from the floodplain (e.g. housing);
  • Provision of Individual property protection and flood warnings;
  • Provision of temporary/demountable defences;

All these options were rejected because they were considered to be environmentally and/or socially unacceptable or because they didn’t meet the economic criteria for investment.

2.2  Options regarding the location of a linear secondary flood defence were considered during a public consultation exercise in October 2015. The preferred option from that consultation was for a wall set back from the edge of the marine lake and adjacent to the highway.

2.3  With regard to the procurement route consideration was given to a full procurement exercise however given the scheme value substantial additional time would have been needed to have been factored into the procurement planning to allow for compliance with OJEU regulations. The Environment Agency’s Collaborative Delivery Framework (CDF) has been subject to OJEU advertising during its procurement. Use of the CDF therefore provides a time saving with regard to project delivery. Furthermore a full procurement exercise would take substantially more time from the point at which detailed design of the scheme was completed (November 2021).

Publication date: 11/04/2022

Date of decision: 11/04/2022

Effective from: 15/04/2022

Accompanying Documents: