MP Swire calls for action at Pennington Point

11:24 21 January 2013

Local MP Hugo Swire with Stuart Hughes at Pennington Point to discuss the future of Sidmouth

Local MP Hugo Swire with Stuart Hughes at Pennington Point to discuss the future of Sidmouth's cliffs. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 6333-01-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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EAST Devon MP Hugo Swire has added to calls for urgent measures to be taken to safeguard Sidmouth’s beleaguered eastern cliffs.

Mr Swire expressed flooding fears for the town when he visited Pennington Point last Friday and said: “The time for deliberation is behind us and the time for action is now.”

He added that the state of the crumbling stretch of coastline, currently a tourist attraction in its own right, was the worst he had known. The MP added a future regeneration of Port Royal could be jeopardised as would-be developers would not be interested in the site if the risk it faces remains in place.

He said action was needed on two fronts - with a rock revetment to protect Alma Bridge and what remains of Pennington Point in the short-term.

Mr Swire added that a long-term solution for rapid erosion of cliffs running to Weston Mouth, which will be addressed in a beach management plan, should be fast-tracked. He added that current talks were “taking too long”.

“We now need to get on with it,” said Mr Swire. “It may not please everybody, but the time for deliberation is behind us and the time for action is now.”

Mr Swire said the issue had been discussed for as long as he’s been an MP – more than a decade – and been getting progressively worse.

“I’ve never seen it as bad as this – it is now a very different issue,” he added.

Mr Swire said he sympathised with householders whose gardens were disappearing and who struggled to get insurance.

“A beach management plan needs to come out as soon as possible and we need to act on that,” he said. “There is no excuse for further delay. If the district council is serious about this site then no developer is going to commit to anything here when you have this issue.”

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