Sidmouth flood prevention amphitheatre a step closer
PUBLISHED: 12:00 22 January 2020
Devon County Council
A proposed public amphitheatre in Sidmouth, which would double up as an flood prevention measure, has moved a step closer to becoming a reality.
Devon County Council wants to build an underground storage area for surface water beneath public parkland at The Knowle, off Station Road.
Earthworks above the storage facility would be shaped into the terraced circular layout of an amphitheatre, which could be used for outdoor public performances.
The removal of the surface water would reduce the flood risk to more than 100 homes.
East Devon District Council was asked for its response to the county council's proposals, and has decided to raise no objections.
Work could now start on the scheme in the next few months.
If the flood prevention work goes ahead, two drainage channels will be installed in Station Road, where surface water accumulates during heavy rainfall and flows towards the town centre.
The drainage system will carry the water to The Knowle's parkland and into a swale (a shallow indentation into the grassland). The swale will channel the water down the naturally sloping site to the base of the amphitheatre, where it will soak into storage crates below the ground.
The base will be designed in a way that minimises waterlogging, so the amphitheatre would be unusable for only a short time during heavy rain.
The plans for the parkland also include wildflower seed scattering along the swale, the planting of seven mature trees, and interpretation boards explaining how the flood prevention scheme works.
When the plans were originally submitted last autumn, they were welcomed by the Sidmouth Sidford councillor Stuart Hughes, who is also the county council's Cabinet member for highways management.
He said: "This flood alleviation scheme is extremely important for the town.
"A lot of investigation work has gone into working up the design of this scheme in order to increase the standard of flood protection in Sidmouth.
"This scheme is a win-win for Sidmouth as not only will it reduce flood risk but it will also provide a performance area for events, including the Sidmouth Folk Festival."