Glass splash wall on Sidmouth seafront would need CCTV and vandalism deterrents

Contractors removing the panel of Sidmouth seafront in May. Picture: East Devon District Council

Contractors removing the panel of Sidmouth seafront in May. Picture: East Devon District Council - Credit: Archant

A temporary glass splash defence test panel, that was installed on the Sidmouth seafront, has passed almost undamaged.

The glass panel was installed on The Esplanade between the York Street and Fore Street junctions, to test whether glass could be used to reinforce Sidmouth’s sea defences on the line of the existing short wall.

It passed mostly unscathed, with the only damage being from vandalism.

Councillor Geoff Jung, the district council’s portfolio holder for coast, country and environment, said the test demonstrated the glass could be a viable option as long as it was not vandalised, so if this option of defence was used it would need to be complemented with CCTV or other vandalism deterrents.

He added: “To protect Sidmouth Town from flooding from the sea, along with other marine works including rock armour, and bringing new beach material from elsewhere and setting it on the beach to ‘recharge’ it, we need a one-metre high splash defence in place along the majority of The Esplanade in advance of forecasted large storms.

“There are many ways we could achieve this, such as glass panels, solid walls, large planted planters, community-operated temporary barriers, multiple flood gates, or any combination of these.

“This will help guide the detailed design stage, which would then be taken through the planning process.”

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Cllr Jung added when the panel was removed, it was cleaned and examined for damage – the landward side was broken, and there was evidence of vandalism, through small dents.

The glass had not broken but the landward pane was damaged, although the middle laminate and seaward pane were not broken.

He said: “Overall, the glass fared extremely well given its positioning on the sea wall adjacent to the shingle beach.

“The seaward side had some very minor scuffing from the impact of shingle being thrown against it.“

The next phase of the Beach Management Plan is to hold a public exhibition – location and format to be confirmed given Covid-19 restrictions – where people can make comments on the various types of splash defence available, and, given funding constraints, give an indication of what their preference is for what method in which location.