Half million hope for Sidmouth’s crumbling cliffs

PUBLISHED: 09:32 13 March 2012

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A PROPOSED beach management plan for Sidmouth - it is hoped will lead to a solution for crumbling Pennington Point - is in line to receive more than £500,000.

But a vital slice of the cash won’t come until 2014, and the rest will be handed over by 2017, according to the Environment Agency (EA) and Defra.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) applied for funding from the bodies as it bids to formulate proposals to tackle rapid erosion of the town’s eastern cliffs.

The beach management plan itself will cost £80,000 to produce - with subsequent maintenance works estimated to total hundreds of thousands more.

The EA and Defra revealed EDDC will receive £55,000 towards the £80,000 beach management plan in the 2014/15 financial year. Members had already pledged £25,000 to the scheme in January.

“This would give us an overview of the beach for the next 100 years and a plan of maintenance work for the next 10 years,” said an EDDC spokesperson. A further two instalments totalling £500,000, in both 2015/16 and 2016/17, will follow.

“The second part was a guesstimate of maintenance work required following the beach management plan - £250k for the following two years after the production of the plan,” added the spokesperson.

“If we don’t have a plan in place we would not be successful in bidding for funding for any works, maintenance or new, from Defra.”

EDDC says a beach management plan would give a clear assessment of the issues involved, the options necessary to protect the beach and town, and give the authority a realistic opportunity to bid for further Defra funding in the future.

Last year, a working part set up to find a way forward in tackling erosion at Pennington Point agreed at its first meeting that formulating a plan, as soon a possible, was the best way forward.

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