Massive step forward for Sidmouth coastal protection announced

    Now 4 years on, the protection scheme is now achievable. A single rock island with a new a super rock groyne on East Beach will be placed a short distance from the cliff face and projecting out to sea & only minimal changes to the splash wall are proposed.

    The Advisory Group for the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) has given the green light to the “Option 6” Beach Management Scheme.

    At the meeting held on Wednesday, 8 March the advisory group agreed to a changed scheme which now includes:

    On the Main Beach the construction of an offshore breakwaters/island similar to the 2 existing breakwaters, plus a “beach recharge”. Existing beach levels will be increased using similar material dredged from offshore.

    On the Esplanade and the Ham area, at the eastern end there will be a replacement splash-wall on the landward side of the existing road near the lifeboat station. West of that the existing splash way will be replaced with better foundations, and the wall rebuilt to approximately the existing height (but this will be reviewed in the detailed design).

    The far eastern end of the Ham and river training wall will have remedial works carried out and an improved larger slipway, specifically to provide speedier lifeboat launching.

    On East Beach there will be the construction of a 120m long “super groyne” and substantial beach recharge, again using beach material dredged from offshore.

    The scheme will lead to 113 residential and 70 commercial properties being better protected from increased flood and erosion risk

    It was also agreed that a proposal for beach ramp at Chit Rocks will be incorporated into Beach Management Scheme. This ramp will provide easy access for families with young children and wheelchair access to the beach.

    These changes to the scheme have been made possible by changes in the UK Government funding calculator, plus extra contributions from the town, District, County Councils, and other Government Agencies. However, there remains an estimated funding gap of £1.75m which is being underwritten by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to enable the project to progress these important works without delay.

    EDDC Councillor Geoff Jung, (Chair of the Sidmouth Beach Management Advisory Group) said:

    “I am really pleased that the group has supported the recommendation to move onto the next stage for this important and critical project. For the last 4 years I have been the Councillor overseeing this project and was told at the very beginning it was a challenge! It certainly has been! with the funding complexities, covid lockdowns, escalating material costs and now the dramatic fuel costs rise, we are now finally providing Sidmouth and East Beach the protection they vitally need.  

    “Climate change”, and “Global Warming” was hardly a consideration when the earlier schemes were being considered in the 1990s. However, we now understand that the effects of the sea and weather will have serious detrimental consequences on the town of Sidmouth, but this plan is designed to protect properties and residents, to retain its character and unique charm for the next 100 years.

    “I would like to personally thank the officers, consultants, and group members for their diligence and hours of hard work to finally move on to the detailed design stage, at which time the number and orientation of the new breakwaters will be optimised for effectiveness and visual impact.

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