Flood Defences - Poole Bridge to Hunger Hill

Investigating the viability of new flood defences to protect Poole town centre and Old Town from flood risk for the next 100 years, and help to unlock land for development along West Quay Road


BCP Council
Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM)
Planning & Regeneration



T.B.C. subject to funding

Project Overview

BCP Council, using FDGiA[1], has started producing an Outline Business Case (OBC) for flood defences along approximately 1.5km of waterfront on the eastern side at the entrance to Holes Bay.

Working with stakeholders, we plan to:

  • investigate options for flood defences, highlighting one preferred scheme which could possibly receive funding in 2021/22;
  • agree contributions required to renew the quay wall to provide improved protection against tidal flooding and the consequences of climate change;
  • create a new public quayside along Backwater Channel.

The economic justification for the proposed defences will build on the recommendations of the Poole and Wareham Flood and Coastal Erosion Management (FCERM) Strategy adopted by the Environment Agency in 2015, which identified approximately 428 properties at risk of flooding (Strategy Economics) in Poole Town Centre and the Old Town.

The current policy of flood defence delivery wholly through regeneration and private development is not providing the required level of investment to achieve the FCERM strategy policy, resulting in the need to investigate alternative options and funding mechanisms.

The proposed scheme combines with other recent schemes delivered by the Environment Agency and Poole Harbour Commissioners to provide improved tidal flood protection to the built up area of the town:


The ongoing regeneration of the Twin Sails area [see www.pooleprogress.com] was expected to include delivery of required flood defences to protect both new developments and the wider flood-risk area within Poole Town Centre and the Old Town. To date, however, the envisaged regeneration has not materialised and recent developments have only included flood defences along discrete lengths within the frontage, leaving gaps in the defence line.

To support delivery of regeneration the council adopted a new Poole Local Plan in November 2018.

The existing defences are generally lower than the required level and in poor condition. This means that a significant risk of flooding exists both now and with the impacts of climate change.

West Quay Road by Poole Bridge, 2008

West Quay Road by Poole Bridge, 2008

Lifeboat Quay, 2008

Lifeboat Quay, 2008

Examples of a flood event and the very low level of current flood defences along Back Water Channel

Examples of poor condition, failing assets

The quayside is in a mixture of different private ownerships, various defence levels and in varying condition. There is currently flooding potential on a normal high spring tide with only a small surge (e.g. 0.2m). The only current form of defence is limited to the deployment of temporary defences for protection to the adjacent properties and businesses.

A new flood defence / quay wall would ideally be delivered with a design life of 100 years to a height of 3.51m (ordnance datum) defence crest height. Chart datum is equivalent to -1.4m ordnance datum

[1] FDGiA – Flood Defence Grant in Aid – is Government funding available for a particular scheme based on a formula that takes into account the number of households protected; the estimated value of damages being prevented; and the other benefits a particular project would deliver, such as environmental improvements.