Looe Flood Defence and Regeneration Scheme

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Breakwater Engagement

Following the breakwater engagement events staged earlier this year, we have carried out detailed analysis of the feedback we received from members of the local community, stakeholders and directly affected property owners on the current proposals and early-stage designs for the flood defence and regeneration scheme.

357 people attended the three face-to-face events held at the Quayside Centre in West Looe and the online workshop between 28th April and 3rd May, with members of the public also invited to share their views via the Let’s Talk Cornwall website.


30% of those taking part in the engagement told us that they had been directly affected by flooding, either as residents or as the owners of local businesses.

As well as providing a general update on the progress of the scheme, we asked people to tell us their priorities, and to comment on the current proposals for modifying and extending the Banjo Pier and constructing a breakwater.

Whilst some people chose to complete a short questionnaire, others preferred to give their views in person to members of the team. Where possible their comments have been recorded and included as part of the overall feedback.

What people told us:

Over three quarters of the respondents said they found the sessions useful and over half said it was easy to share their views during the sessions which is great to hear.

A copy of the report is available in the documents section but below is a summary of the main findings.

The priorities identified by local people who took part in the engagement were:

  1. Providing access to water at all states of the tide
  2. Visual changes
  3. Reducing the impact of the scheme on the marine environment
  4. Decreasing the carbon footprint
  5. Economic regeneration, and
  6. Reducing the cost and potential delay in obtaining funding

We recognise the importance of providing access to boats at all stage of the tide and our design team are looking at options for achieving this as part of the design of the breakwater.

It was also good to see more than half of the respondents saying that they felt the proposed scheme would produce economic benefits for the town.

As well protecting Looe from frequent and severe flooding and damage over the next 50 to 100 years, one of the key aims of the proposed scheme is to support the regeneration of the town and the wider South East Cornwall economy. We are continuing to work with partners to identify the economic benefits of this scheme to enable us to secure Government and other sources of funding.

The most common themes that emerged throughout the engagement were:

  • Retention of much-loved existing features of Banjo Pier (ie circular end) and style/architecture.
  • The use of traditional materials for the scheme to retain some of the character and opposition to the use of bare concrete, as it was felt this would give an industrial feel to the town
  • The need to rethink the design of the structures so these are more visually appealing and integrate with the town
  • Concerns about the visual impacts and the impacts on marine life
  • Mixed feelings about the length of the structures, with preferences for both the longer and the shorter option. Some people felt the structures would be too big or long regardless of the option chosen
  • Mixed feelings about the economic benefits that the scheme will bring, with mentions of economic benefits for the tourist boats, fishing industry and businesses or no economic benefit at all.

There were also mixed feelings about the scheme itself, with comments ranging from ‘the proposed changes have the potential to greatly enhance Looe’s tourist appeal and hugely benefit the local economy’- to ‘the current design doesn’t consider any of Looe’s heritage. In addition some residents felt that ‘the whole scheme is totally unnecessary’.

A range of additional suggestions were also put forward by participants. These included:

  • Incorporating vegetation and features that would attract the community and visitors alike as well as retail
  • A softer and more creative design, as well as a more curved and aesthetic design for the breakwater
  • Pedestrian access to the structures, including seating and potentially small pop-up stalls, covered viewing areas and good lighting
  • Designing something new but integrated with the old
  • Suggestions to look into getting local artists involved with the scheme
  • Incorporating new walkways and making existing walkways safe
  • Designing the scheme so it is in keeping with the existing character of the town.

A huge thank you to everyone who came along to one of the engagement events or gave us their views on the proposals via the Let’s Talk site. This is a key stage in the development of the scheme and it was great to have the opportunity to find out local people’s views on the proposals and their vision for the future of Looe.

Working with businesses:

Looe is the most frequently flooded coastal town in the UK, with flood waters causing £39m of damage to homes and businesses here between 2013-2017 (Source: CDC Business Survey – 2017).

While we had the opportunity to talk with a number of local businesses during our engagement events, we are keen to seek the views of as many businesses as possible within the town on the latest proposals. Securing the necessary funding will require us to make a very strong case to government and other partners. This will involve demonstrating the impact the current level of flooding is having on both individuals and businesses in the town.

A previous survey carried out by Cornwall Council in April 2017 found that 65% of businesses in the town had experienced a negative impact on turnover as a result of flooding. 27% of those who responded said that they had experienced a ‘severe or significant’ impact, with 22% reporting being impacted by ’long term loss of business’. The average cost of flooding to a business was estimated at £31,700, with 31% of businesses stating that they were un-insured against flooding at the time.

We want to find out how the situation has changed over the past five years, how the risk of flooding impacts local businesses and what is important to businesses as we develop proposals for the scheme. To gather this information we will be inviting businesses to take part in a short survey in the Autumn to help us to better understand the financial implications of continued flooding on businesses in Looe and support the case for investment.

Next steps:

We recognise that the need for change is sometimes difficult to accept and will continue to work with all sections of the community to maximise the benefits and minimise the disruption that such a scheme will bring to Looe.

The technical and design teams are taking all the comments made during the engagement into account while drawing up the next stage of the scheme. We will be staging a further engagement event in the town in the Autumn to display the latest plans and enable local people to see how their feedback is being used to shape the emerging designs.

We will also be holding a number of further events at key stages of the project to gather local knowledge and ideas. These will take place prior to the applications for planning permission, a harbour revision order and a marine licence being formally submitted.

Future Adaptation:

As well as continuing to build a strong economic case for the scheme and developing the engineering solutions needed to enable the town to manage the risk of flooding over the next 50 - 100 years, we also want to work with the local community to produce a Flood Adaptation Plan.


This will identify measures which go well beyond 100 years, giving the community time to adapt to the changing climate so it can live with the consequences of increased flood risk in the future. This will include examination of existing planning policies to prevent inappropriate development in areas of flood risk, evolving transport policies, and investigating measures to generate income to support transformation projects.

About the Looe Flood Defence and Regeneration Scheme

Looe is already the most frequently flooded coastal town in the UK. Over the next 100 years, sea levels are predicted to rise by more than 1 metre as a result of climate change, threatening even more parts of the town. These include the health centre, the police and fire stations, main food stores and cafes and the fish market, as well as major transport links such as the A387 and the railway station.

Urgent action needs to be taken to reduce the extremely high risk of further coastal flooding and erosion in Looe.

The main aims of the proposed scheme are to:

  • Protect Looe from frequent and severe flooding and damage over the next 50 - 100 years, giving the community time to adapt to a changing climate.
  • Enhance the overall environmental integrity of the designated sites and water bodies.
  • Work to promote economic growth in East Cornwall by:
  • Protecting key transport links
  • Protecting and enhancing the visitor and marine economy

By delivering a scheme which reduces the risk of flooding, attracts widespread support, secures all the necessary approvals and permissions, and is capable of being funded, we can protect homes, businesses and key transport links in and around the town, at the same time as enhancing the marine and visitor economy.

This is a major project which will have a significant impact on the town.

A number of different options have considered as potential solutions during the past 20 years. Following detailed consideration, only one – the tidal barrier scheme – was considered viable.

In July 2015 Looe Harbour Commissioners funded work to develop proposals for a new food defence scheme. The outcome was supported by 95% of local residents and landowners.

in 2020 Cornwall Council’s Cabinet agreed to support the development of the Looe Flood Defence project, allocating £2.3m from the South-East Cornwall Regeneration Programme.

In 2021 the project was awarded a £2.3 million Defra Flood Defence Grant in Aid grant. This is being used to complete work on preparing the outline business case– the next key stage in securing the Government, and other sources of funding, needed to deliver the scheme. Further information about this funding is available in the News Feed section below .

The scheme is being led by Cornwall Council and the Environment Agency. The partners are also liaising with a number of local organisations, including Looe Harbour Commissioners, Looe Town Council, Looe Development Trust, West Looe Town Trust, East Looe Town Trust, the RNLI and local MP Sheryll Murray to turn the proposals into an economically viable and environmentally friendly solution to the town’s tidal flooding challenges.

There was overwhelming public support for the proposals put forward by the Harbour Commissioners in 2015 and we want to work with the local community to shape the final scheme.

The proposed Looe Flood Defence and Regeneration Scheme includes:

  1. A tidal barrier which will close when flooding is likely
  2. A southern breakwater to prevent overtopping of the flood gates during tidal surges, provide a shelter for vessels when the flood gates are closed and protect Hannafore Road.
  3. An extension to the Banjo pier, creating a low water landing stage providing boat access at all states of the tide.
  4. A cut-off wall below East Looe beach to prevent tidal flooding bypassing the tidal barrier
  5. A separate low level walkway from Pennyland in the town to Hannafore

Current plans for the positions and lengths of piers are likely to evolve in response to wave modelling and ecology, and commercial issues.


You can view a short film about the scheme below:

Tide gauge

We have installed a new tide gauge at the harbour to measure the water level in the harbour 24 hours a day, every day. This is providing vital information on the risk of flooding and how often Looe floods, as well as helping to improve predictions of storm surges.

You can view a short film about the tide gauge here :


Reef cubes trial

Earlier this year we deployed reef cubes off Banjo Pier as part of a trial into ways in which we can lower the carbon footprint of the proposed flood defence structures and boost marine biodiversity.

Supplied by local company ArcMarine Ltd, each reef cube is made from a special low-carbon, marine-friendly concrete, with nooks and crannies designed to create an ideal home for marine wildlife such as seaweeds, barnacles and limpets, as well as larger species such as lobster and crab.

You can watch a short film about the trial here

Current Timeline

  • Completion and submission of Outline Business Case 2022 / 2023
  • Finalising detailed designs 2023 /2024
  • Harbour Revision Order Application 2023 / 2024
  • Planning Approval 2024/ 2025
  • Funding decision 2024 / 2025
  • Construction 2025 / 2028


You can give us your views on the proposals on our discussion forum. You can also email us at LooeFloodDefence@wsp.com



Latest News

Breakwater Engagement

Following the breakwater engagement events staged earlier this year, we have carried out detailed analysis of the feedback we received from members of the local community, stakeholders and directly affected property owners on the current proposals and early-stage designs for the flood defence and regeneration scheme.

357 people attended the three face-to-face events held at the Quayside Centre in West Looe and the online workshop between 28th April and 3rd May, with members of the public also invited to share their views via the Let’s Talk Cornwall website.


30% of those taking part in the engagement told us that they had been directly affected by flooding, either as residents or as the owners of local businesses.

As well as providing a general update on the progress of the scheme, we asked people to tell us their priorities, and to comment on the current proposals for modifying and extending the Banjo Pier and constructing a breakwater.

Whilst some people chose to complete a short questionnaire, others preferred to give their views in person to members of the team. Where possible their comments have been recorded and included as part of the overall feedback.

What people told us:

Over three quarters of the respondents said they found the sessions useful and over half said it was easy to share their views during the sessions which is great to hear.

A copy of the report is available in the documents section but below is a summary of the main findings.

The priorities identified by local people who took part in the engagement were:

  1. Providing access to water at all states of the tide
  2. Visual changes
  3. Reducing the impact of the scheme on the marine environment
  4. Decreasing the carbon footprint
  5. Economic regeneration, and
  6. Reducing the cost and potential delay in obtaining funding

We recognise the importance of providing access to boats at all stage of the tide and our design team are looking at options for achieving this as part of the design of the breakwater.

It was also good to see more than half of the respondents saying that they felt the proposed scheme would produce economic benefits for the town.

As well protecting Looe from frequent and severe flooding and damage over the next 50 to 100 years, one of the key aims of the proposed scheme is to support the regeneration of the town and the wider South East Cornwall economy. We are continuing to work with partners to identify the economic benefits of this scheme to enable us to secure Government and other sources of funding.

The most common themes that emerged throughout the engagement were:

  • Retention of much-loved existing features of Banjo Pier (ie circular end) and style/architecture.
  • The use of traditional materials for the scheme to retain some of the character and opposition to the use of bare concrete, as it was felt this would give an industrial feel to the town
  • The need to rethink the design of the structures so these are more visually appealing and integrate with the town
  • Concerns about the visual impacts and the impacts on marine life
  • Mixed feelings about the length of the structures, with preferences for both the longer and the shorter option. Some people felt the structures would be too big or long regardless of the option chosen
  • Mixed feelings about the economic benefits that the scheme will bring, with mentions of economic benefits for the tourist boats, fishing industry and businesses or no economic benefit at all.

There were also mixed feelings about the scheme itself, with comments ranging from ‘the proposed changes have the potential to greatly enhance Looe’s tourist appeal and hugely benefit the local economy’- to ‘the current design doesn’t consider any of Looe’s heritage. In addition some residents felt that ‘the whole scheme is totally unnecessary’.

A range of additional suggestions were also put forward by participants. These included:

  • Incorporating vegetation and features that would attract the community and visitors alike as well as retail
  • A softer and more creative design, as well as a more curved and aesthetic design for the breakwater
  • Pedestrian access to the structures, including seating and potentially small pop-up stalls, covered viewing areas and good lighting
  • Designing something new but integrated with the old
  • Suggestions to look into getting local artists involved with the scheme
  • Incorporating new walkways and making existing walkways safe
  • Designing the scheme so it is in keeping with the existing character of the town.

A huge thank you to everyone who came along to one of the engagement events or gave us their views on the proposals via the Let’s Talk site. This is a key stage in the development of the scheme and it was great to have the opportunity to find out local people’s views on the proposals and their vision for the future of Looe.

Working with businesses:

Looe is the most frequently flooded coastal town in the UK, with flood waters causing £39m of damage to homes and businesses here between 2013-2017 (Source: CDC Business Survey – 2017).

While we had the opportunity to talk with a number of local businesses during our engagement events, we are keen to seek the views of as many businesses as possible within the town on the latest proposals. Securing the necessary funding will require us to make a very strong case to government and other partners. This will involve demonstrating the impact the current level of flooding is having on both individuals and businesses in the town.

A previous survey carried out by Cornwall Council in April 2017 found that 65% of businesses in the town had experienced a negative impact on turnover as a result of flooding. 27% of those who responded said that they had experienced a ‘severe or significant’ impact, with 22% reporting being impacted by ’long term loss of business’. The average cost of flooding to a business was estimated at £31,700, with 31% of businesses stating that they were un-insured against flooding at the time.

We want to find out how the situation has changed over the past five years, how the risk of flooding impacts local businesses and what is important to businesses as we develop proposals for the scheme. To gather this information we will be inviting businesses to take part in a short survey in the Autumn to help us to better understand the financial implications of continued flooding on businesses in Looe and support the case for investment.

Next steps:

We recognise that the need for change is sometimes difficult to accept and will continue to work with all sections of the community to maximise the benefits and minimise the disruption that such a scheme will bring to Looe.

The technical and design teams are taking all the comments made during the engagement into account while drawing up the next stage of the scheme. We will be staging a further engagement event in the town in the Autumn to display the latest plans and enable local people to see how their feedback is being used to shape the emerging designs.

We will also be holding a number of further events at key stages of the project to gather local knowledge and ideas. These will take place prior to the applications for planning permission, a harbour revision order and a marine licence being formally submitted.

Future Adaptation:

As well as continuing to build a strong economic case for the scheme and developing the engineering solutions needed to enable the town to manage the risk of flooding over the next 50 - 100 years, we also want to work with the local community to produce a Flood Adaptation Plan.


This will identify measures which go well beyond 100 years, giving the community time to adapt to the changing climate so it can live with the consequences of increased flood risk in the future. This will include examination of existing planning policies to prevent inappropriate development in areas of flood risk, evolving transport policies, and investigating measures to generate income to support transformation projects.

About the Looe Flood Defence and Regeneration Scheme

Looe is already the most frequently flooded coastal town in the UK. Over the next 100 years, sea levels are predicted to rise by more than 1 metre as a result of climate change, threatening even more parts of the town. These include the health centre, the police and fire stations, main food stores and cafes and the fish market, as well as major transport links such as the A387 and the railway station.

Urgent action needs to be taken to reduce the extremely high risk of further coastal flooding and erosion in Looe.

The main aims of the proposed scheme are to:

  • Protect Looe from frequent and severe flooding and damage over the next 50 - 100 years, giving the community time to adapt to a changing climate.
  • Enhance the overall environmental integrity of the designated sites and water bodies.
  • Work to promote economic growth in East Cornwall by:
  • Protecting key transport links
  • Protecting and enhancing the visitor and marine economy

By delivering a scheme which reduces the risk of flooding, attracts widespread support, secures all the necessary approvals and permissions, and is capable of being funded, we can protect homes, businesses and key transport links in and around the town, at the same time as enhancing the marine and visitor economy.

This is a major project which will have a significant impact on the town.

A number of different options have considered as potential solutions during the past 20 years. Following detailed consideration, only one – the tidal barrier scheme – was considered viable.

In July 2015 Looe Harbour Commissioners funded work to develop proposals for a new food defence scheme. The outcome was supported by 95% of local residents and landowners.

in 2020 Cornwall Council’s Cabinet agreed to support the development of the Looe Flood Defence project, allocating £2.3m from the South-East Cornwall Regeneration Programme.

In 2021 the project was awarded a £2.3 million Defra Flood Defence Grant in Aid grant. This is being used to complete work on preparing the outline business case– the next key stage in securing the Government, and other sources of funding, needed to deliver the scheme. Further information about this funding is available in the News Feed section below .

The scheme is being led by Cornwall Council and the Environment Agency. The partners are also liaising with a number of local organisations, including Looe Harbour Commissioners, Looe Town Council, Looe Development Trust, West Looe Town Trust, East Looe Town Trust, the RNLI and local MP Sheryll Murray to turn the proposals into an economically viable and environmentally friendly solution to the town’s tidal flooding challenges.

There was overwhelming public support for the proposals put forward by the Harbour Commissioners in 2015 and we want to work with the local community to shape the final scheme.

The proposed Looe Flood Defence and Regeneration Scheme includes:

  1. A tidal barrier which will close when flooding is likely
  2. A southern breakwater to prevent overtopping of the flood gates during tidal surges, provide a shelter for vessels when the flood gates are closed and protect Hannafore Road.
  3. An extension to the Banjo pier, creating a low water landing stage providing boat access at all states of the tide.
  4. A cut-off wall below East Looe beach to prevent tidal flooding bypassing the tidal barrier
  5. A separate low level walkway from Pennyland in the town to Hannafore

Current plans for the positions and lengths of piers are likely to evolve in response to wave modelling and ecology, and commercial issues.


You can view a short film about the scheme below:

Tide gauge

We have installed a new tide gauge at the harbour to measure the water level in the harbour 24 hours a day, every day. This is providing vital information on the risk of flooding and how often Looe floods, as well as helping to improve predictions of storm surges.

You can view a short film about the tide gauge here :


Reef cubes trial

Earlier this year we deployed reef cubes off Banjo Pier as part of a trial into ways in which we can lower the carbon footprint of the proposed flood defence structures and boost marine biodiversity.

Supplied by local company ArcMarine Ltd, each reef cube is made from a special low-carbon, marine-friendly concrete, with nooks and crannies designed to create an ideal home for marine wildlife such as seaweeds, barnacles and limpets, as well as larger species such as lobster and crab.

You can watch a short film about the trial here

Current Timeline

  • Completion and submission of Outline Business Case 2022 / 2023
  • Finalising detailed designs 2023 /2024
  • Harbour Revision Order Application 2023 / 2024
  • Planning Approval 2024/ 2025
  • Funding decision 2024 / 2025
  • Construction 2025 / 2028


You can give us your views on the proposals on our discussion forum. You can also email us at LooeFloodDefence@wsp.com



Your experiences of flooding in the area

We want to hear your experiences of flooding in Looe to help shape our plans – you can share your experiences and learn about the experiences of others. 

Thank you for sharing your story with us.

You need to be signed in to share your story.

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    Please join the facebook group for information and updates

    by StuG, 3 months ago

    There is a facebook group setup to share information and updates and to keep a central library of information to make it easier to find and digest. Please join if you wish.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1380962389046021

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    Serious Concerns from Residents

    by SG, 5 months ago

    I am writing on our own behalf and also on behalf of many of the residents in Hannafore Road as we have a lot of concerns about the proposed project. Our row of Victorian properties are directly above the proposed work area and we would all like reassurances that the vibrations from the project will not damage either our properties , the banks below, or any of the unstable areas along Hannafore Road which have already experienced landslips on several occasions.

    We are also very concerned about the noise and air pollution we will suffer for the several years the... Continue reading

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    Newsletters

    by FionaA, 9 months ago
    I'm looking for the newsletters about this project. I understand there was one published in Aug '21 and another is just published (Nov'21).

    Where can I find them?

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    Summer Flash Flood Response

    by Samuel Gill, over 1 year ago
    During the last major flash flood at the end of august the major damage caused to our businesses resulted from a mix of heavy rain and tidal influx up the drains.


    I believe your scheme will aid by keeping these drains emptier by stopping the tidal surge. However major damage was also caused by the failure to keep the drains clear up Tower and Barbican Hill road (where the water in the gutters spurted upwards of a metre at each drain due to the pressure of the blockage).

    Improving the existing drainage and increasing its capacity to drain water elsewhere... Continue reading

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Page last updated: 28 Jul 2022, 12:18 PM