A farmer who built his own seawalls says good defences are crucial to protect new homes planned for the district.

Seawalls around the coastline are under pressure, including the Salcott Channel between Tollesbury and West Mersea, Tollesbury Wick Marshes, Steeple, St Lawrence, Bradwell and Holliwell Point.

John Theobald farms on land between Fenn Creek in South Woodham Ferrers and Hayes Farm in Battlesbridge.

He has twice rebuilt seawalls, once in the 1970s and again about 12 years ago, when he spent £160,000 on rebuilding 2.5miles of seawall over eight years.

He believed new homes near main watercourses would be threatened by poorly maintained seawalls “absolutely, without a doubt.”

“The effect would be absolutely terrific as soon as you put any hard covering down,” he said.