£9million plan to save Sidmouth from coastal erosion goes on display

Members of the expert panel talking to residents about the proposals for the Sidmouth Beach Manageme

Members of the expert panel talking to residents about the proposals for the Sidmouth Beach Management scheme. - Credit: Archant

Multi-million pound proposals to protect Sidmouth from coastal erosion and flooding for the next century have gone on display.

East Devon District Council and the council’s consultants Royal HaskoningDHV showcased the preferred option for the Sidmouth Beach Management Scheme which would see a new groyne installed on East Beach and raise the splash wall along the promenade.

The £9million project would also incorporate importing shingle on both East and Sidmouth beach and hopes to be completed the work by 2020.

Residents are being asked to help the council raise £3.3million towards the project, with remaining funding hoping to be secured through the Environment Agency.

Councillor Tom Wright, portfolio holder for the environment at EDDC, and chairman of Sidmouth beach management plan stakeholder group, said: “It is a 100-year plan, so its £9million pounds, which is the cost of the project, not just engineering work, but also to cover the cost of maintenance going forward, moving the shingle about, replenishing the beaches, maintenance. Although it is a big chunk of money, it’s a big chunk of money for a long-term benefit.”

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Under the proposals the groyne will help to keep shingle from being moved eastwards away from the cliffs and the higher wall will capture water flooding low-lying areas in the town centre.

Following the exhibition, the consultant’s next steps will include finalising the preferred option and approval for the outline business case – the required document to obtain funding.

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Then work will be carried out to collect all the supporting information to present to statutory bodies, which will include the detailed design, engineering drawings and calculations for pricing and appointing a contractor for the works.

Consultants hope work could start during 2019 if the necessary permission is in place, and aim to complete to work in 2020.

Caroline Price, principal maritime consultant for the scheme, said the exhibition was to seek the publics thoughts, show why the plan delivered on a range of objectives, and explain why other options had not been taken forward.

She said: “When you are choosing the most beneficial one, the preferred option for a beach management plan, what you have to take into consideration the technical, the environmental and the financial elements of the project. And the option they are taking forward at the moment delivers on all of those fronts.

“So it’s not the most expensive and it’s not the most damaging and its not the most technically challenging in terms of deliverability because that is part of it too. You can design all sorts of wonderful schemes but if it is very difficult to deliver and you have large delays that obviously has negative implications for the people who are affected by flooding.”

Posters from the exhibition are on display in the reception at Knowle.

You can also view the exhibition material online here - comments can be made up until next Thursday (May 3).

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