Natural England joins Sidmouth cliff talks

PUBLISHED: 17:32 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:57 18 June 2010

A representative from Natural England has now been invited to a meeting between district officials and stakeholders over options to help protect Pennington Point, Sidmouth.

A representative from Natural England has now been invited to a meeting between district officials and stakeholders over options to help protect Pennington Point, Sidmouth.

Last week the Sidmouth Herald reported that NE had not received an invitation, but would be happy to attend.

An East Devon District Council spokesman said then it would consider inviting other interested parties as deliberations progressed.

Now, after disappointment was expressed by other stakeholders at the omission, EDDC has changed its mind.

Its spokesman said: "The list of invitees to this meeting is at the discretion of Councillor Graham Brown, Portfolio Holder Environment.

"He has agreed that Natural England should be invited to the meeting on May 17 so that they can play a full part in the discussions."

Tony Miller, chairman of SAFE, Sidmouth Against Flooding Emergency, has asked those attending the meeting to "aquaint themselves with the condition of the cliffs firsthand" before next Monday's meeting.

He has asked Peter Jeffs, EDDC's corporate director, to email "non-local participants and recommends they visit the Port Royal area prior to the meeting at the Knowle."

Mr Miller, one of the Cliff Road home owners currently experiencing the loss of gardens, is keen to progress some form of cliff protection scheme and had expected a beach meeting to take place before discussions.

He said: "Only by doing as I suggest will those attending the Knowle meeting be prepared to meaningfully discuss the issues at hand.

"Ignorance of the situation at beach level will hamper any discussion and potentially I believe result in flawed understanding and decisions.

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