Potential flood defences at Camperdown Terrace in Exmouth

Over 1,000 properties in Exmouth will be benefit from improved flood defences

East Devon District Council is working with the Environment Agency to upgrade the sea and estuary defences in Exmouth. The proposed project will reduce the risk of flooding to over 1,000 homes in Exmouth.

Since Autumn 2015, the council’s Exeter based consultants WSP │ Parsons Brinkerhoff have reviewed  information gathered from flood modelling, a topographic survey and geotechnical investigations and  developed a number of options to upgrade Exmouth’s flood defences along the estuary side and sea front.

Following this, East Devon has held consultation events with local councillors and residents directly affected by the proposed works, as well as with the wider community. The consultations received an excellent response from local people and around 150 people attended the last consultation event, which took place on 3 February 2016 at Exmouth Town Hall. 

It is intended that the project will involve works in three main areas of Exmouth and plans of each option and a video fly-through can be found on the East Devon District Council website.

  • (Area A)North of Imperial Recreation ground up to Withycombe Brook. The aim in Area A is to prevent overtopping of the existing Estuaryside, which could lead to flooding inland at The Colony. It is proposed to raise the ground level of existing greenspace where possible and, where space is more constrained, to add a wall up to around waist height along the estuary. Where possible the wall will be positioned between the footpath and estuary to discourage access to important habitats for over wintering birds and East Devon is proposing to raise an area of car parking to allow people to continue to view the estuary from their cars.
  • (Area B) The South side of Imperial Recreation Ground around Camperdown Creek to the Exe Sailing Club.  In Area B, similarly, the council would like to raise defences to improve protection to properties locally and low lying areas inland. There are a number of options here, including ramps and gates across roads and slipways, a wall around the estuary itself or a barrage across Camperdown Creek. Following public consultation and consideration of the technical and environmental issues, the project team has decided to proceed with the option for ramps and gates in conjunction with property level flood protection of properties alongside the estuary. This option is cost effective, provides sufficient protection against flooding and allows local people to continue to access the estuary in this area.
  • (Area C) Along the Esplanade from Mamhead slipway to outside of the Clock Tower. A positive response was received at the consultation event to a proposal to create a secondary defence on the landward side of the road using walls and gates to contain waves overtopping the existing sea wall. It has not been decided yet whether the project will need to include raising the length of the existing sea wall where the existing parapet is lower by up to 0.5m (19 inches) and this option will be considered carefully over the coming months. 

Councillor Iain Chubb, portfolio holder for the environment at East Devon District Council, said: 

Over 1,000 properties in Exmouth will benefit from improved flood defences as a result of the proposed scheme. We’ve undertaken consultation with local councillors, residents, businesses and statutory consultees to help us arrive at a preferred option for the project. Further technical, environmental and costs/benefit appraisal will be carried out on the preferred option before submitting a business case for government funding later in Spring 2016.

We were delighted with the response to the consultation. The turnout at the consultation event at the Exmouth Town Hall in February was excellent and the majority of people we spoke to were pleased that we are looking to reduce the risk of flooding in Exmouth.

Should we be successful in obtaining funding, we plan on commencing detailed design this summer, which will include further detailed consultation with the community, property owners and statutory consultees.