Major step forward for Sidmouth Beach Management Plan

This photograph of Pennington Point and East Cliff was taken for the BMP by a drone at lower altitud

This photograph of Pennington Point and East Cliff was taken for the BMP by a drone at lower altitude. If you look carefully you can see circular waves with their centre at the end of the river training wall. This is wave diffraction and it can cause erosion. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth is one step closer to getting the vital sea and flood protections it needs.

A bid for a £500,000 pot of cash for the £9million flood defence scheme - the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan, was recommended for approval by South West Regional Flood and Coastal Finance Sub Committee.

Earlier this year, district councillors warned that the £9million flood defence scheme was at risk of falling through all together if the final £1.5million could not be secured to fund the project by August 2020.

This £500,000 will mean the town has to raise £1million instead of £1.5million - as long as the final go ahead is given at the January meeting of the South West Flood and Coastal Committee.

Councillor Stuart Hughes revealed the 'excellent news' this week.

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The Regional Flood and Coastal Committee was established by the Environment Agency, under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, with members appointed by Lead Local Flood Authorities and relevant independent parties, to help guide local flood and coastal management across the region.

Cllr Hughes said the case was for £500,000 over two financial years.

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He added: "This goes a long way to closing the gap of £1.3million, required to be found locally, which with the agreement in January will mean the shortfall will be £800,000.

"I am delighted that the members of the finance sub group agreed with the case that I made for this additional funding and I was able to show local support for funding for the scheme included the town, district and county councils and local residents of Cliff Road."

Cllr Hughes said South West Water had also indicated support but at this time no figure about their contribution had been revealed.

An East Devon District council spokesman said: "We applied for some Local Levy Funding to help bridge the partnership funding gap (currently circa £1.5million)...

"This still needs to be authorised by the South West Flood & Coastal Committee at their meeting in January 2020 before we will be able to confirm that the money will be available to help deliver the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Scheme. Our partnership funding gap would then be around £1million."

Read Race against time to secure £1.5million - or Sidmouth won't get coastline protection it wants for more.

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