Collection box for Sidmouth sea defences has raised just £165 to date

The preferred option in the Sidmouth beach management scheme is to construct one or two rock groynes

The preferred option in the Sidmouth beach management scheme is to construct one or two rock groynes to the east of Sidmouth, improve maintenance access onto east beach by reducing the length of the River Sid training wall, import new shingle onto the beach, and periodically recycle shingle - Credit: Archant

Council bosses will soon write to Sidmouth residents and businesses to ask if they will help to fundraise the £3.3million needed to pay for much-needed sea defences.

The collection box installed on Sidmouth seafront.

The collection box installed on Sidmouth seafront. - Credit: Archant

And a Freedom of Information request has revealed that, as of December 18, a collection box on The Esplanade asking for contributions to the BMP had taken just £165.75 since it was installed last April – less than half its £400 overall cost.

Project leader and East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) consultants, Royal HaskoningDHV, has been conducting extensive calculations and computer-modelling waves hitting the beach and the floor risk of them overtopping the seawall.

The results will be used to update the number of residential properties that will be protected by the new scheme and to estimate the effect on the area’s economy. This will in turn allow EDDC 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 project can progress beyond the outline design stage.

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

Over the next six months, Royal HaskoningDHV will progress the outline design for the scheme, alongside an environmental impact assessment.

Businesses that contribute could benefit from tax relief.

Nearly three-quarters of voters in a Herald poll said they would not be willing to put their hand in their pocket to pay towards implementation of the beach management plan (BMP).

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