‘No immediate danger’ to Larne promenade despite large holes: council

The two large holes at Larne promenade. Photo by Damian Jay Hemy. INLT-32-710-con
The two large holes at Larne promenade. Photo by Damian Jay Hemy. INLT-32-710-con

The council says there is “no immediate danger” to Larne promenade after two large, deep holes appeared in the side of the path.

Local people say that the two deep holes, which each measure around two metres wide, have been there for two weeks and that young children have been daring each other to enter the “cave-like” structures.

The support underneath the footpath is worn away at this section of Larne promenade. Photo by Damian Jay Hemy. INLT-32-711-con

The support underneath the footpath is worn away at this section of Larne promenade. Photo by Damian Jay Hemy. INLT-32-711-con

Mum-of-two Carrie Anne Hill told the Times that she had recently had to warn other children to stop entering the holes for fear of collapse.

“There were kids inside it and I told them to get out but they didn’t,” she told the Times.

“It is very dangerous because of the collapse risk and I think that it is in a bad enough condition to collapse on top of them.

“This route is very popular with families and kids, and I would have thought there would be more action to repair this sooner, as it has been like that for two weeks.

One of the holes in the side of Larne promenade. INLT-32-715-con

One of the holes in the side of Larne promenade. INLT-32-715-con

“It’s wrong that it has been left as long as it has and it’s only by luck that someone hasn’t been injured.

“Anything could have happened.”

As the Times attended the scene at 2.20pm today (Friday August 5) a Mid and East Antrim Borough Council van arrived and erected fencing around the walkway above the holes.

However, the deep holes are still accessible via steps when the tide is out.

A deep hole in the side of Larne promenade. INLT-32-713-con

A deep hole in the side of Larne promenade. INLT-32-713-con

Cathy Sittlington, who was walking along the promenade with her son and dog, added: “It’s not good to see the promenade in this state.

“I noticed holes in the side of it before but they weren’t as big as that.

“I would be worried about the safety aspect, it seems that the stones underneath the promenade are being washed away.

“There’s no telling how far under the structure the holes stretch.

A barricade was erected along the footpath at Larne promenade above the two large holes. However, they are still accessible from nearby steps. INLT-32-712-con

A barricade was erected along the footpath at Larne promenade above the two large holes. However, they are still accessible from nearby steps. INLT-32-712-con

“I would be afraid for the safety of kids or animals down there and I would be calling on the council to fix it as soon as possible.”

Another man, who said he had reported the situation to a local councillor last week, said: “I first noticed the holes two months ago and it has got worse, one hole opened up a fortnight ago and the other last week.

“I’m really surprised that it has been there for so long and it hasn’t yet been fixed by the council.

“I’m worried that the promenade could collapse underneath as the sea gets in and washes the stones away, placing the path in jeopardy.

“This could be a real health and safety danger if it’s not tackled soon.”

His friend added: “Children are off school all day at this time and people are walking their dogs, if anyone fell into those they would be doomed.

A council spokesperson told the Times that council “was aware of the issue, and repairs were already being procured with urgency, before the recent more obvious damage occurred.”

“This is part of ongoing erosion at the sea defence wall,” he stated.

“The top surface has only broken in the last few weeks over a 20m section.

“A structural engineer has already examined the damage and has confirmed there is no immediate danger to promenade.

“We have appointed a consultant engineer to look at both the very urgent and the long term works regarding the promenade.

“Urgent repair work will commence early next week.

“Cost to be ascertained, both for urgent and longer term works.”

The council spokesperson said that fencing off the area had been done “ as much as possible given tidal flow/fact that damage is on the foreshore itself.”