Sidmouth has ‘good case’ for coastal defence cash

Shingle restoration work on Sidmouth beach finished this week - two weeks ahead of schedule

Shingle restoration work on Sidmouth beach finished this week - two weeks ahead of schedule - Credit: Archant

Experts working on a long-term solution to flooding and cliff erosion in Sidmouth have said the town has an ‘excellent economic case’ for coastal defence funding.

As part of the ongoing beach management plan (BMP), consultants have drawn up a long list of options for protecting the town’s at-risk shoreline – including building extra breakwaters, more ‘shingle recycling’ and placing new groynes off the east beach.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) says the next step is to shortlist the strategies, which it hopes to do by the end of the year.

But the implementation of the BMP would then rest on it being able to secure funding for whichever options are deemed to be most suitable.

Last week, a meeting of the BMP steering group – a panel tasked with advising the project – heard that there had been ‘steady progress’ with a series of key ‘baseline reports’.

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The finished reports, which are looking at things like the rate of coastal erosion and economic consequences of flood damage, will form the basis for funding applications to central government.

The steering group heard from coastal scientist Alan Frampton, who works for consultants commissioned for the BMP.

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He told the panel he was confident that the BMP will ‘identify solutions that can access a significant amount of grant aid funding to deliver them’.

He said: “However, the baseline reports have already shown that East Devon has an excellent economic case that will achieve a significant proportion of central government grant aid funding.”

EDDC’s deputy leader, Councillor Andrew Moulding, said: “One of the most important points to come out of the meeting is that we have a very good case for obtaining funding thanks to the work carried out by the consultants.

“It is anticipated that by late spring 2016 the production of the draft BMP, together with supporting documents, will have been completed.

“This will be followed by a four-week consultation on the draft BMP and then the finalisation of the plan.

“Once this has been achieved, we can look forward to implementing the management scheme aimed at addressing coastal erosion and flood risk affecting Sidmouth and the east beach.”

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