£16 million pounds from the Environment Agency has been secured to start building the Sidmouth and East Beach coastal defence scheme.

Design consultants are soon to be employed to revisit the outline design. Design and modelling will occur throughout 2024 into 2025. A public consultation will then be held to help shape the final design, a planning application will then be submitted. Construction will follow. 

Planned improvements currently include one or more new offshore breakwaters, a new rock groyne at East Beach, and the splash wall at the east of the Esplanade will be raised.

A new slipway access will allow improved maintenance and easier launching for the lifeboat and other watercrafts. The main and East beaches will be 'recharged', with levels to be increased using similar material dredged from offshore. All planned changes will be done in a sympathetic manner, keeping Sidmouth's historic architectural and natural beauty in mind. 

The £20million project will protect 113 residential and 70 commercial properties from the risks of sea flooding and cliff erosion. East Devon District Council (EDDC) will provide £2.25million of already approved funds, with additional contributions from Devon County Council and other local bodies. 

Councillor Geoff Jung, chair of the Sidmouth Beach Management Advisory Group, said: “The announcement that the Environment Agency have agreed to these vitally important coastal defences for the better protection to the seafront at Sidmouth, is fantastic news. It has been a massive challenge to provide the maximum protection with the minimum impact to the visually important historic sea frontage. 

“I would like to thank everyone from our engineers, consultants, the Environment Agency plus the team of local representatives, all councillors plus our MP who have all contributed to overcoming the many hurdles and challenges over the last few years.” 

East Devon District Councillor for Sidmouth Rural Councillor John Loudoun said: “I am incredibly pleased for all the residents who live above East Beach, as well as those in the town who, if this project hadn't been so vigorously pursued would be so badly affected. 

“This Administration and its officers have worked tirelessly with all our partners  over the past 4 years to get this this very important point, but the hard work to make this project a reality is still to come." 

East Devon MP Simon Jupp said: "I am delighted by today’s news confirming multi-million-pound government funding. Sidmouth deserves proper coastal flood defences, and this funding will certainly bring much-needed peace of mind to well over 100 residents and businesses. I would like to thank the team at East Devon District Council, as well as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for hearing my call to ensure the project can continue despite delays. I am now looking forward to seeing it be delivered."