Shingle restoration work starts - but will it last?

PUBLISHED: 17:05 12 January 2015

Start of the work to restore the shingle on Sidmouth beach. Ref shs 0666-02-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Start of the work to restore the shingle on Sidmouth beach. Ref shs 0666-02-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Six weeks of work to restore shingle to Sidmouth's depleted main beach began on Monday in the face of claims that sea movements could soon undo the effort.

Start of the work to restore the shingle on Sidmouth beach. Ref shs 0675-02-15TI. Picture: Terry IfeStart of the work to restore the shingle on Sidmouth beach. Ref shs 0675-02-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

East Devon District Council (EDDC) hopes adding a ‘winter blanket’ of pebbles will protect the town before the onset of any winter storms and restore the beach to its autumn 2013 profile.

But the project – funded by up to £100,000 of government cash – has been slammed as a short-term fix and a waste of taxpayers’ money.

Writing on Facebook, Anne Bishop said: “Considering how easily the shingle seems to move every time we have a rough high tide – and remembering that the last load of shingle disappeared overnight from Port Royal – I do wonder if this is all a waste of time and money.”

Thousands of tonnes of shingle are being shifted eastwards from where it has collected on the west beach, although there is not the surplus needed to shore up the east beach.

Jud Lascelles said: “Reinstate the wooden groynes and set aside some budget to maintain them.

“They weren’t put there for fun by our ancestors; they served a very important purpose.”

Kym White agreed that the railway sleepers should be returned, but Pully Poolman said even they are ‘no match’ for the weather we are experiencing.

Councillor Andrew Moulding said EDDC could not miss out on the Environment Agency emergency funding while it waits for the beach management plan.

The council is due to meet with its steering group on the plan in February, and it promises wider public engagement in June.

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