Sidmouth's new action group gets underway

RESIDENTS from across Sidmouth are invited to join the committee of a newly-formed action group to fight flooding and erosion.

RESIDENTS from across Sidmouth are invited to join the committee of a newly-formed action group to fight flooding and erosion.

At its inaugural meeting on Friday, Cliff Road resident Tony Miller, chaired the meeting, saying Sidmouth Against Flood Emergency was set up to represent the whole of the town.

Updates on issues previously raised by Salcombe Hill Association included potential damage to eroding Salcombe Hill cliffs caused by lack of field drainage at the top of Salcombe Hill.

Peter Hand said drainage was removed in the mid '90s because it was draining over the cliff, causing erosion.

"Now when it rains it looks like Niagara Falls from the top," he said.

Investigations have found virtually none of a railway tunnel, built in the 1840s remained. There were fears it could cause a massive fall.

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Mr Miller said: "This could explain why we've had a number of significant falls to the Eastern end of the cliffs in the past 18 months."

Some 300 signatures have been added to a petition asking East Devon District Council and other interested parties to implement a cliff erosion, Alma Bridge and Sidmouth Town flood protection scheme.

SAFE was given space at Salcombe Regis Fair to promote itself.

"As a result we were able to speak to more than 140 people and at least 100 signed the petition," said Mr Miller, who was elected chairman of the group at a meeting on Tuesday.

Brian Rutley said Sidmouth would only flood from the River Sid.

"Perhaps a higher bank along the Ham riverside would stop any flooding," he said.

Support for the group comes from Sidmouth's Vision Group and Sid Vale Association and like these organisations, SAFE has commented, through the public consultation process, on the Shoreline Management Strategy update.

Vision Group chairman Robert Crick, said Natural England should be asked to move the Sites of Special Scientific Interest line 2-300 metres east of the river to allow protection works to go ahead.

He said beach levels should have been built up at the Eastern cliffs immediately the town protection scheme was built.

Councillor Tony Reed said he and Councillor Stuart Hughes had worked "very hard" over the past decade to get cliff protection.

"The town council is with you here and are your allies," he said.

Councillor Graham Brown, EDDC's portfolio holder environment, for EDDC, supported both in their fight against cliff erosion and flooding.

"I hope people don't have the attitude EDDC doesn't care or want to be involved," he said. "I really want to help and will make sure the lines of communication are open between you and EDDC."

*Anyone willing to join SAFE's committee should email Mr Miller at