Storm leaves legacy of chaos

13:03 18 February 2014

Winds brought down a tree that blocked Station Road

Winds brought down a tree that blocked Station Road

Archant

WILD weather wreaked havoc again last week as a major clean-up operation took place following unrelenting storms – with more forecast.

Every major route into Sidmouth was blocked by fallen trees at one point last Wednesday, with one in Station Road taking down power lines and writing-off a van.

That onslaught of wind and rain came as the district council estimated its workers moved around 110 tonnes of pebbles and debris from the seafront and riverside walk on Monday. A mechanical sweeper and tractor were needed to shift a deep layer of shingle and broken tarmac.

It will cost thousands to repair decimated beach huts at Jacob’s Ladder with the work likely to take at least six weeks. Benches and bins have also been destroyed.

Last Wednesday, the A3052 near Newton Poppleford was partially blocked and the A375 at Putts Corner was rendered impassable due to fallen trees.

Drivers were lucky to avoid one that crashed down in Station Road and wrecked a vehicle parked on the forecourt of Sidmouth Body Repairs.

Mike McDonald, son of owners John and Julie, said: “It was brand new. Luckily there was no one in it. It’s written off.”

Resident Graham Cooper captured a photo of a ‘10-tonne’ concrete slab dislodged at Jacob’s Ladder and deposited 10-metres west.

“Imagine the forces and amount of energy required to shift this,” he said.

Anna Thompson, 46, was left gutted when she decided to renew her beach hut lease – only to say ‘yes’ on the day it was destroyed.

A district council spokesman said the ‘unprecedented’ storms inflicted ‘significantly more damage than usual’.

He added beach huts were kept up in the winter as, normally, the cost of dismantling and re-erecting them was more than the usual minor repairs. Staff at Dukes and Mocha have been praised for jumping into action last week to combat the threat of flooding – even when some were off duty.

Their actions saw both escape any major damage.

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