Pool of drainage water on Sidmouth beach splits opinion

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 February 2019

The drain outlet at the western end of Sidmouth. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

The drain outlet at the western end of Sidmouth. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

Alex Walton

A pool of water collecting on Sidmouth beach has split opinion, with some slamming it as an eyesore and others claiming it adds to nature.

Sidmouth Town Council’s Clerk Christopher Holland brought the issue to the authority’s attention at a recent meeting.

Mr Holland said in the last few months, and even years, he had been contacted about the draining outfall at the western end of the beach.

He said a lot of people thought it should be cleaned up and was an eyesore, saying the weeds and water that sat there, at times, was a health hazards. Others have said the pool helps biodiversity.

Mr Holland said: “It is East Devon District Council’s responsibilty. They decided some time ago to cut down on the amount of maintenance done there. They keep it clear and from flooding.”

Speaking at the meeting on Monday, February 4, Councillor Louise Cole said: “I think it is time we did something and took action. I suspect it is something we need to do in partnership with others, with guidance from those who are concerned about the biodiversity element.

“It used to be a small pool but the tide has excavated a really large hole which collects the water which doesn’t drain at the same speed it used to, so sits and becomes a bit stagnant.”

Cllr Ian Mckenzie-Edwards added: “To put it bluntly they are weed and tomatoes. I don’t feel it is a very attractive aspect of our beach.”

Cllr Marc Kilsbie said: “I have never had people say the pros of the biodiversity part of it. I have just had mothers that have had to drag their children out there, and complaints about the vile smell and noxious substances floating around in there.”

Cllr Dawn Manley said: “I was there a couple of hours ago – the beach is clean and beautiful and the water is pouring out and looks clean. It has got bigger and yes, it was collecting there but I don’t remember seeing any rubbish or foliage. Just like the river, it is beautiful when it is flowing but at certain times it gets damned up.”

Councillors discussed having the hole made smaller, and to have the pipe put under the drainage pipe under beach.

Councillors agreed that while Sidmouth in Bloom did support and carry out some work to keep the beach attractive and full of natural flowers and, it would contact EDDC to ask for a general clean-up of the area keeping the outfall clear and flowing, especially during the peak tourist season.

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