Go-ahead for Sidmouth festival fireworks - despite cliff fall fears

PUBLISHED: 19:32 08 June 2010 | UPDATED: 14:04 18 June 2010

AMID concerns that firework rocket launchers could cause vibrations that might trigger a rock fall, Sidmouth Town Council voted to let Sidmouth FolkWeek organisers use its Alma Field to hold its end of festival firework display.

AMID concerns that firework rocket launchers could cause vibrations that might trigger a rock fall, Sidmouth Town Council voted to let Sidmouth FolkWeek organisers use its Alma Field to hold its end of festival firework display.

"It is the safest place for it," said chairman, Councillor Peter Sullivan, whose sentiment was echoed by Councillor Jeffrey Turner.

Mr Turner added: "I am not sure about the effectiveness and wonder where people will stand to get the best view. That is up to the organisers, it is a safer place and I believe is a good solution to moving from the Esplanade."

However, Councillor Chris Gibbings questioned whether the vibration from setting off fireworks, particularly when launching rockets, might shake the cliffs.

"If we get the slightest rock fall we will get the blame," he said.

Town clerk Trina Jarrett said she had been in discussions with John Radford, event production manager for the festival, about whether a rocket launcher could exacerbate a cliff fall "and he was adamant it was not the case".

Mr Gibbings remarked: "If an expert says it's not a problem then let them in."

PC Steve Lemon, who attended the meeting, gave a word of warning: "I would be concerned if people were going on that side of the beach (eastern end).

"The fireworks will go out to sea but will you get people stood underneath the cliffs to watch?"

Mr Sullivan said the fireworks would be let off 10 metres inland from the cliff edge.

"I propose we accept this and let them use our field for one year," he said.

l Several weeks ago Alma Field was subject to a massive cliff fall, one of a series of falls that have taken place in the past few months at Salcombe Cliffs and Pennington Point.

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