SOMERSET West and Taunton Council is planning to set aside £740,000 to design a long term solution and reinforce part of Watchet's East Quay harbour wall.

Before Christmas, part of the wall near Watchet’s East Quay collapsed following high tides and strong winds, leaving a large hole.

Somerset West and Taunton Council swiftly put together an emergency temporary repair with the Environment Agency, plugging the gap.

This week a report will go before the council's executive committee setting out the current situation with the wall, and the options the council has to maintain the asset into the future.

The report by SWaT's localities manager Chris Hall states that the East Quay survey works 'have identified that the wall is not of imminent risk of failure'.

"However the wall would benefit from maintenance and some reinforcing in the central and northern sections to ensure that operations can continue here into the future," Mr Hall writes.

The report also recommends that a programme of monitoring is put place the entire length of the wall.

The East Quay wall serves as part of the structure to create the marina, protects Watchet as a sea defence, and stabilises the East Quay itself.

This area is used for boat storage, as a lifting facility for the marina, and a tourism offering.

A total of £100,000 will be used to design a solution for the Splash Point section, and another £100,000 for the East Quay.

A sum of £500,000 is requested to reinforce the central section of the East Quay wall.

Mr Hall writes: "It is clear from the site investigation works that the central part of the structure is nearing the end of its life and were there to be no maintenance then it will inevitably fail at some point in the future."

In regards to the northern section of the wall, Mr Hall writes that the survey findings mean the council has a choice to reinforce, place a restriction on crane operations at low tide, or restrict any future dredging operation within the immediate area.

The report states: "The cost of including the northernmost section in the procurement is estimated to be in excess of £400k it is therefore economical to look at alternatives.

"It is recommended that this is excluded from the reinforcing programme and officers are instructed to work with the marina operator to limit the impact of this decision."

The council was keen to highlight that the repairs were not being undertaken to enable the Onion Collective development, but because the wall is the responsibility of SWaT.

"A key message from the survey works, and one of the reasons the council were comfortable in signing off the lease to the Onion Collective, is that the surveys identify a negligible impact of the development on the wall.

"Therefore development, or no development, the factor of safety for the wall is unaffected. This is due to the distance of the development from the wall edge."

The total cost recommended in the report at this stage is £740,000, which will be funded from borrowing.

The report will go before Somerset West and Taunton Council's executive meeting on Wednesday, January 22, at 6.15pm in Deane House, Taunton.