Government stumps up £1 million
Sidmouth beach which is in dire need of a new beach management scheme to protect the crumbling cliffs and change the landscape with new groynes.
The proposed plan fell short of £1 million pounds short which has now been bridged by a government grant to enable East Devon District Council to start work to protect 120 residential properties from coastal flooding, as well as a further five properties from erosion, by slowing the erosion rate of the East Beach cliff with a new groyne and heightening the promenade wall.
The news comes as the council plans to remove the trial glass panel from the Esplanade following its test period.
The scheme aims to maintain the 1990s' Sidmouth Coastal Defence Scheme Standard of Service and reduce the rate of beach and cliff erosion to the east of the River Sid, and the cash had to be found by August.
Cllr Geoff Jung, Chairman of the East Devon Sidmouth and East Beach steering group, and environment portfolio holder for East Devon District Council, said: “Now the Sidmouth and East Beach BMP is most likely to be fully funded, the East Devon team can concentrate on finalising the details of the project, such as accommodating an attractive new splash defence along the esplanade, improved slipway access and a recharged beach, which are all part of the preferred option, which is estimated to cost £8.7m.
“It is planned that as soon as is possible an exhibition and a chance to “meet the team” session will be held in Sidmouth (subject to Coronavirus emergency measures) providing local people the opportunity to see and understand the final designs.
“The project team will also have to apply for planning permission which will be subject to further period of public consultation, and agreement from strategy consultees which will include the Town Council, Natural England, and Historic England. Final assurance checks by the Environment Agency must also be passed to confirm the eligibility of the central Government Grant.”
Cllr Cathy Gardner and Cllr Denise Bickley, ward members for Sidmouth Town, Cllr John Loudoun, ward member for Sidmouth rural, and Cllr Stuart Hughes, Cllr Dawn Manley and Cllr Marianne Rixson ward members for Sidmouth Sidford, welcomed the news, and said: “We are delighted that this extra funding is available. The long-awaited beach management plan can now move on to the next stage.”