Dramatic Sidmouth cliff fall photo used to warn of East Beach dangers

PUBLISHED: 17:06 19 September 2016 | UPDATED: 08:47 20 September 2016

Eve Mathews, of Sidmouth,  took this dramatic photo of a cliff fall in 2009.

Eve Mathews, of Sidmouth, took this dramatic photo of a cliff fall in 2009.

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'Innovative' new sign is a first in East Devon

The new sign at the steps near Alma Bridge.The new sign at the steps near Alma Bridge.

A resident’s dramatic photo of a cliff fall is being used as part of an ‘innovative’ bid to deter people from venturing on to Sidmouth’s East Beach.

The image, by Eve Mathews, has been utilised by East Devon District Council (EDDC) as part of a new warning sign positioned on the emergency egress steps at Alma Bridge.

It was installed following a recent cliff fall and urges beachgoers to take caution over the potentially deadly dangers of landslides and rising tides.

Councillor David Barratt, ward member for Sidmouth/Sidford, said: “The new sign packs a really powerful message and could not make the dangers more clear. I hope everyone takes heed.”

“Cliff falls are becoming more common and are totally unpredictable,” added Cllr Cathy Gardner, ward member for Sidmouth Town. “It’s not possible to close the beach, so I hope this signage will deter people from going into such a dangerous area.”

EDDC wants to discourage the public from using the steps by Alma Bridge to access East Beach due to the risk of being cut off by rising tides or rock falls.

The actual purpose of the steps is to allow a safe escape route for people approaching Sidmouth from the east, so they do not get trapped by the incoming tide.

However, despite repeated warnings, people have been witnessed climbing over recently-fallen debris on the beach - and even evading rock falls as they occur.

Cllr Iain Chubb, portfolio holder for the environment, said: “The new design is very powerful and illustrates graphically the very real danger that the cliffs present to members of the public.”

EDDC chairman and Sidmouth/Sidford ward member Cllr Stuart Hughes added: “This is an innovative way of signing and the first of its kind in East Devon.”

EDDC is now looking for photographs of other rock falls at Beer, Budleigh Salterton and Seaton, which could be used on location-specific warning signs.

Photographs can be submitted to engineers@eastdevon.gov.uk

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