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Further delays to Sidmouth’s beach protection plan

PUBLISHED: 17:12 18 August 2014

The latest cliff fall by the river mouth in Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shs 3799-31-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

The latest cliff fall by the river mouth in Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shs 3799-31-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

A FUTURE strategy to protect Sidmouth’s shores has suffered further setbacks as driving forces need to uncover ‘critical’ information from the early 1990s on the town’s current sea defences.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) consultants say they cannot proceed with the Beach Management Plan (BMP) until they know whether the existing rock groynes are working properly, writes Stephen Sumner.

They need to dig out documents dating back 25 years so the meeting of the group steering the £75,000 project has been postponed until February – leaving concerned residents by the rapidly eroding Pennington Point clinging on even longer for a solution.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, who chairs the BMP steering group, said: “The success of this project depends on our current consultants developing a sound understanding of the coastal processes, the environmental constraints and opportunities, and most of all the history of the development of Sidmouth’s sea defences and their design rationale.

“That requires reliable information about the design history of the sea defences that the council does not possess, so we asked the consultants who designed and built the defences to help.”

EDDC is waiting as Royal Haskoning, the engineering consultants that drew up the previous plan, delve years into their archives to find the necessary documents.

It had revealed in April that the plan was not due to be completed until the same time next year – and these new delays look set to push that back further.

The aims of the BMP are to maintain the existing defences and to reduce the rate of beach and cliff erosion to an agreed historic rate.

It is being drawn up with the Environment Agency, Devon County Council, Sidmouth Town Council, the South West Strategic Regional Coastal Monitoring Programme and the Cliff Road Action Group.

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