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Exmouth Flood scheme approved

Councillors say 'lives will be saved'

The £12m scheme will reduce the flood risk from the current 1-in-25-year risk (4 per cent chance of flooding in any year) to 1-in-200-year (0.5 per cent chance).

It will include:

  • Flood embankments and walls between the Withycombe Brook and Imperial recreation ground.
  • Raised defences between the Imperial recreation ground and Camperdown Terrace.
  • Strengthening the existing seawall, improving drainage for water to drain back out to sea, flood gates and new set-back defences along the landward side of the Esplanade.

Full planning permission for a tidal defence scheme comprising flood walls, embankments and gates for the areas around the Estuary and Camperdown Creek was granted, as was outline permission for proposed road alignments and flood defence gates or wall at the Alexandra Terrace Junction with the Esplanade and in front of Moreton Crescent.

Listed building consent for strengthening works, insertion of drainage holes, installation of square plates and works associated with installation of flood gates and posts to Exmouth Sea Wall was approved.

Cllr Susie Bond, East Devon’s lead councillor for flooding, moved that the scheme be approved, saying: “This is a fantastic, and a huge and complex scheme. It will protect 1,400 houses so on that basis this should be applauded.”

Cllr Paul Carter said that it would fantastic when this was in place, Cllr Mark Williamson said that the large and complex scheme would bring huge public benefits, and Cllr Bruce de Saram said: “It is a very good project. There are some issues to determine but it will give great benefit to the town and save lives in the event of flooding.”

Work is set to begin in April and will be tailored to avoid disruption on the seafront during the summer and to winter birds on the estuary.

Richard Samphier, on behalf of the Environment Agency, told councillors that they have listened to feedback of residents, as they have moved the Royal Avenue wall closer to the estuary, have removed the Moreton Crescent wall from the detailed application, and have adjusted the position of a flood gate at the sailing club.

He added that they have developed a new solution for the Moreton Crescent wall and a planning application will be submitted in the coming weeks, and by the summer, the scheme for the junction at Alexandra Terrace will have been submitted.

Mr Samphier added: “The scheme will defend over 1,400 houses and 400 business and will significantly reduce the risk of flooding. This is a flagship Environment Agency investment and the people of Exmouth will enjoy it.”

The need for the scheme was demonstrated during Storm Callum in the Autumn when the seafront flooded.

Tom Hurley took a video of vehicles struggling along a flooded Exmouth seafront. It shows how the waves have overlapped over the seawall and onto the Esplanade, turning what is normally a road into something more resembling a river.

Planning officers had recommended the scheme be approved, with Chris Rose saying: “The proposed development would provide a benefit to the residents of Exmouth in the tidal storm surge event for now and into the future.

“Overall it would have an acceptable impact, particularly when balanced against the wider benefits of the proposals in preventing flooding and protecting lives and property.”

The works proposed by the Environment Agency will give added protection to Exmouth from tidal flooding and can be split into three distinct areas.

Area A extends from the boatyard to the north of Imperial Road car park, past Marks and Spencer’s and along the estuary side into the Imperial Recreation Ground and will involve some local land raising and a new sea defence wall.

Area B extends from the Imperial Recreation Ground at its western end around to Camperdown Terrace and again includes some raising of local land plus a curved flood defence wall and flood gates.

Area C extends from Mamhead Slipway along the length of the Esplanade to the Premier Inn and includes the strengthening of the existing sea wall and construction of a setback defence on the landward side of the Esplanade. The esplanade road will be undefended and will flood from water that overtops the existing sea wall. Drainage will be installed to discharge this water back into the sea.

Details of parts of a new sea wall to the front of Morton Crescent and across Alexandra Terrace road junction with the Esplanade are not included within the current application as they are subject to further detailed consideration and consultation by the Environment Agency.

Construction is set begin early in 2019 and should be complete by 2021. Work will be scheduled to avoid disruption to winter birds on the estuary and the summer holidays on the seafront.

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