Sidmouth cliff erosion solution talks next week

A WORKING party set up to tackle the problem of Sidmouth’s rapidly eroding eastern coastline will meet for the first time next week.

The get-together of town representatives, environmental experts from bodies like Natural England, and residents, comes more than a month after district council chiefs vowed to take urgent action to find a solution at crumbling Pennington Point.

Cliff Road homeowners, who fear for their properties and town assets, withdrew their own plans for a coastal protection scheme at the eleventh hour on November 15.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) development management committee members were set to reject an application for a rock revetment – but admitted inaction was no longer and option.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, EDDC deputy leader, was tasked with leading a working group to find solution. He told the Herald that he hoped the newly formed party would convene for the first time on Wednesday, December 21.

“It’s going to be a very big group. We wanted to include Sidmouth’s district councillors, all involved agencies and representatives of residents,” said Cllr Moulding.

“There is no time frame (for the whole project and finding a solution). I want it to be as soon as possible. A lot will depend on resources. It is urgent. We’re going to explore the history and decide how we’re going to take it forward. Our overall aim is to come up with a solution that suits all parties.

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On the involvement of residents, he said: “It’s very important. I want all the interested groups to have a chance to put their case forward.

Paul Griew, who heads the Cliff Road Action Group, said he’d offered Cllr Moulding the benefit of his, and fellow residents’, knowledge.

“We expect to be involved,” he added.

Cllr Chris Wale, ward member for Sidmouth Rural, said: “We need to establish a solution for both the residents of Cliff Road and the town.

“I’ll work as part of the group to gain the best outcome for all concerned, and look forward to our first meeting. EDDC is very keen to ensure all parties have equal input into this important issue to allow things to move forward in a constructive manner.”

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