Councillor questions delay on Sidmouth cliff works

PUBLISHED: 09:18 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:20 17 June 2010

ANOTHER fall at Pennington Point has prompted Sidmouth s county councillor to question why nothing has yet been done to protect the fragile cliffs.

ANOTHER fall at Pennington Point has prompted Sidmouth's county councillor to question why nothing has yet been done to protect the fragile cliffs.

Councillor Stuart Hughes said it was last October that the Environment Agency's SW Regional Flood Defence committee backed £30,000 emergency works because of the increase in cliff erosion at the mouth of the River Sid.

But, he said, at last week's meeting of the committee, EA was still waiting for a response from East Devon District Council over the go-ahead.

"It looks as if EDDC is not doing anything to sort out the cliffs. All I get from them is the EA put money towards a study of the cliffs.

"As a county councillor, and chairman of the environment and economic overview and scrutiny committee, I am really concerned.

"Nothing is happening, I don't think anyone realises this is a real threat and we can't close our eyes to it."

The minute from October's flood defence committee meeting reads: "Regarding emergency works at Sidmouth, Adrian Rushworth (Devon flood defence manager) advised that emergency works are required following the increased levels of cliff erosion at the mouth of the River Sid.

Works proposed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) have been agreed in principle by the Environment Agency, these will cost in the region of £30k and will be carried out shortly.

EDDC and the Agency will work together on a study to look at the flood risk element. The Agency will contribute approximately £6-7k towards the study, which will start this financial year."

However, said an EDDC spokesman, funds had been set aside, following discussions with EA last year, to fund emergency works if needed to protect Eastern Town.

He said: "We are awaiting the outcome of a consultants' report into the extent and rate of cliff erosion at this spot, so that we can decide whether such emergency flood protection works are necessary. If it is found that the work is needed, we will be able to act quite quickly, following the agreement already reached with the Environment Agency.

"The report will be considered at a meeting between EDDC and other agencies - Devon County Council, Environment Agency, South West Ware and the National Trust - with an interest in the site. This meeting should be held in the next few weeks.


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