‘We need defences now,’ says storm-hit seafront resident

06:00 08 July 2014

Enormous waves crashed along Sidmouth seafront after very windy conditions and high tides. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 4354-06-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

Enormous waves crashed along Sidmouth seafront after very windy conditions and high tides. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 4354-06-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

Archant

AN ESPLANADE resident of 60 years says Sidmouth cannot afford to wait for new sea defences – after revealing repair work is still being done to his home four months after February’s storms.

John Govier points to repair work still being done at his seafront  home - four months after the 'great gales'John Govier points to repair work still being done at his seafront home - four months after the 'great gales'

Waves crashed over John Govier’s house and inflicted water damage on three rooms over three floors, writes Stephen Sumner.

Dehumidifiers have only just been removed and affected parts inside the property now need to be redecorated.

Sidmothian Mr Govier has spoken of his experience to highlight how unseen damage of the wild winter weather still exists, and to show a seafront protection scheme is urgently needed.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) is leading a multi-agency initiative to produce a £75,000 beach management plan for Sidmouth.

The blueprint would pinpoint what defences are needed along the entire seafront, including at Pennington Point, but a recent delay means the document will not be finished until April 2015. An actual scheme would then have to be funded and implemented.

Mr Govier described the project as a ‘waste of money’ and said: “It’s far better being spent now on putting some rocks round the bottom of Pennington Point and trying to stop some of the erosion. The council employs these experts and thinks the problem is going to go away.”

He attended all of the meetings with marine consultants in the early 1990s that had led to the current off-shore defences being completed, but said tests had showed a semi-submerged breakwater right across the front of the town would have been the best option.

“If anything is going to work, that would work,” Mr Govier said. “I don’t consider myself to be an expert. But having lived here all my life, and lived on the seafront for the past 60 years, I’ve got a pretty good idea what I’m talking about.”

He added that the two ‘great gales’ in February were the worst he had ever seen.

“When you look back, you can hardly imagine it happened,” said Mr Govier. “Maybe it will happen again, maybe it will not happen for another 10, 20, 30, 40 years.”

He said the current calm summer weather should not see the issue forgotten about as the impact of the winter storms is still being felt my many homeowners.

An EDDC spokeswoman said the authority, along with its partners the Environment Agency, Sidmouth Town Council and Cliff Road residents, ‘are doing all they can to ensure that the right action is taken at the right time’.

She added: “Careful consideration needs to be given to the possible impact of any protection works to ensure that protecting one area does not put others at greater risk. This, coupled with obtaining the necessary funding for any works, means that we have to be patient.”

Other News Stories

07:00

Devon Freewheelers operates daily ‘hand-to-mouth’, never knowing where its next penny will come from.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:35
Exeter Crown Court.

An alleged professional criminal funded a jet-setting lifestyle by masterminding burglaries across Devon, including in Ottery St Mary and Beer, it was claimed at Exter Crown Court.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:23
The health watch has already seen success in several communities including Budleigh Salterton, Lympstone and Newton St Cyres.

A recent decision which saw Sidmouth miss out on the chance to trial a pioneering support scheme was down to a lack of necessity for the project - not a lack of interest.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:08
Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Mayor of London Boris Johnson with 3 year old Stephanie during a General Election campaign visit to Advantage Children's Day Nursery in Surbiton, Surrey. Photo: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

David Cameron is launching the Conservatives’ first English manifesto, with a promise of changes to ensure that English MPs have the final say on income tax rates in England.

Read more
Thu, 11:17
Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has a selfie taken as he meets Labour supporters in Ipswich yesterday. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Labour is accusing the Conservatives of planning the biggest spending cuts in any of the world’s advanced economies as the parties again prepare to trade blows on the economy.

Read more
Ottery St Mary Hospital entrance. Ref sho 7454-44-14TI Picture: Terry Ife

Campaigners have accused health authorities of leaving a ‘veil of secrecy’ over discussions to determine the future of Ottery’s hospital - and are appealing for support.

Read more
Wed, 12:08
Angry Sidmouth residents gathered at Knowle Gardens in 2013 after having their application for a public footpath to run through the grounds rejected. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 5623-26-13AW

Walkers may still be able to enjoy a stroll through the ‘upper terraces’ area of Knowle, even if proposals to build a retirement community on the site go ahead as planned.

Read more
Wed, 11:44
Paul Johnston of The Old Post Office, Fairmile, is appealing to motorists to slow down. Ref sho 3361-16-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

A resident who has been battling for two years for measures to stop speeding traffic on Ottery’s outskirts says lack of action could ‘cost a life’.

Read more
Wed, 09:53
Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg at a news conference in London where he announced his party's plans for the public sector. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

Millions of teachers, nurses, police officers and other public sector workers will be spared further pay cuts under Liberal Democrat plans set out by Nick Clegg as he promised there was “light at the end of the tunnel” after years of austerity.

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition



Devon's trusted business finder