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Minister sees Sidmouth beach issues for himself

PUBLISHED: 10:50 10 March 2014 | UPDATED: 09:53 14 March 2014

The Secretary of State Owen Paterson was in town on Friday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 5569-10-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

The Secretary of State Owen Paterson was in town on Friday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 5569-10-14SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

Archant

Hard on the heels of public involvement in a Beach Management Project for Sidmouth this week came a visit from a top Government Minister, who wanted to see for himself the issues affecting Sidmouth’s coastline.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson spent an hour in Sidmouth on Friday (March 7) at the invitation of East Devon MP Hugo Swire, who was escorting his Government colleague to a number of key sites in the district.

During the visit to Port Royal, the Minister met East Devon District Council (EDDC) representatives working on the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan project, including Councillor Andrew Moulding, Chairman of the Project Steering Group.

Also on hand were Cllr Stuart Hughes, a member of Devon County Council, EDDC and Sidmouth Town Council. The Minister also met members of the Cliff Road Action Group (CRAG), who are assisting with the project, and heard about the concerns that residents have.

After spending time in the fishermen’s area, inspecting erosion to the cliffs at Pennington Point near the mouth of the River Sid, the Minister retired indoors to the Sailing Club, where he inspected the display seen 24 hours earlier by members of the public who had responded to an invitation to a drop-in session.

Mr Paterson heard from Tony Burch, assistant project manager, how the project team is bringing together anecdotal evidence provided by the public with technical data to be collected by coastal management experts engaged by EDDC.

After the visit, Cllr Moulding said: “We’d like to thank the Minister for taking the time to talk to us and local residents about the cliffs. He was able to see for himself what has been happening at Sidmouth in recent years”.

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