Sidmouth campaigners welcome cliff erosion solution vow

PUBLISHED: 11:36 25 November 2011

ACTION PLEA: Cliff Road residents descended on Knowle to hand over a planning application in April

ACTION PLEA: Cliff Road residents descended on Knowle to hand over a planning application in April

Archant

CAMPAIGNING Cliff Road residents welcomed a district council pledge to urgently address Sidmouth's rapidly eroding eastern cliffs.

“It’s all been worthwhile if it gets action,” said homeowners who fear having to abandon their properties within 20 years.

Paul Griew withdrew plans for a rock revetment at Pennington Point as councillors were set to reject proposals.

“This is not even the end of the beginning,” Mr Griew said last Tuesday’s decision.

“I felt the councillors were saying they were actually prepared to do something, and to do it fast to alleviate all the problems.

“I won’t put my faith in the council until I see action.”

Development management committee members conceded that offshore rock islands have accelerated erosion of Sidmouth’s eastern cliffs.

“I have massive sympathy for the plight of residents in Cliff Road, which appears to have been caused by man-made intervention,” said Councillor Phil Twiss.

“I feel guilty there’s a significant risk we generated the problem,” added Cllr Ben Ingham.

Cllr Peter Sullivan added: “If there is a major storm there one evening it will affect a lot of people. The economics of the town would be devastated.”

Residents had pleaded for plans to be given the go-ahead.

“This is a plea to ensure you see this application as for the good of the Sidmouth community,” said Lois Kelly.

“This is not a matter to be trifled with,” added Peter Hand.

“For the umpteenth time we say deal with it, and deal with it properly,” said Richard Eley, chairman of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce. “Please just get on with it.”

He said council meetings on a cliff erosion solution over the years had been a “chronic waste of public money”.

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