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Update given on consultant’s work with Sidmouth’s Beach Management Plan

PUBLISHED: 14:52 12 January 2018

The project consultants tasked with looking at Sidmouth’s extreme costal conditions gave an update on their progress last week.

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan’s steering group met with East Devon’s consultants Royal HaskoningDHV to hear how they were getting along.

An East Devon District Council spokeswoman also said they would soon be writing to all the residents, businesses and infrastructure owners who will benefit from the scheme to see if they would be willing to help fundraise the £3.3million needed to pay for the much-needed sea defences.

The beach management plan aims to maintain a healthy beach across Sidmouth Beach and East Beach by putting defences in place which will reduce the rate of erosion.

Representatives from various community organisations and statutory bodies attended the meeting and were briefed about the extensive calculations that Royal HaskoningDHV had been undertaking.

This includes computer modelling waves reaching the town’s beaches and the resulting flood risk of those waves hitting and overtopping the seawall at the rear of the beach and along the River Sid.

The results will be used to update the number of residential properties that will be protected by the new scheme and to estimate the affect on the area’s economy.

This will in turn allow East Devon to justify DEFRA providing an estimated grant of £5.7million for the scheme. Under current funding rules, the scheme will also require partnership funding of £3.3million - including future maintenance costs - which will have to be secured before the scheme can progress beyond the outline design stage.

East Devon has allocated a further £300,000 towards the future scheme costs, this will go before full council for approval at the end of February.

Over the next six months, Royal HaskoningDHV will be progressing the outline design for the scheme, alongside the Environmental Impact Assessment. Computer modelling of the movement of shingle on the beach has also been developed, which will help test and refine changes to existing shoreline structures, such as groynes.

Councillor Phil Twiss, the steering group’s chairman, said: “Sidmouth is a beautiful coastal town, which benefits enormously from the beach both in terms of amenity and protection, so I hope that the local community can step up to the challenge of helping fund the works required to maintain that protection for current and future generations.

“It is critical that we can provide reasonable assurance to DEFRA of securing the necessary partnership funding to finance the scheme, in order that the Government grant of around £5.7million can be realised.”

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