Council’s consultants will now review any comments received from Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan steering group

The April 18 2016 deadline for additional comments on the revised appraisal of a long list of beach management options – sent to members of the Beach Management Plan (BMP) steering group in March – has now passed and East Devon District Council’s consultants CH2M will consider all the comments received before undertaking further detailed appraisal of a short list of options.

The long list options, whose purpose is to help maintain the standard of flood protection provided by the existing sea defences and to reduce the rate of erosion at East Cliff, was revised in response to comments made by the steering group, following a meeting of the steering group on January 15 2016. 

Members of the group (which comprises representatives of the local community, local interest groups, as well as the Environment Agency, Natural England, South West Water and Devon County Council) had asked to see more detail about how the options for the short list would be decided and to understand why some options had been discounted for technical or environmental reasons.

Once the proposed short list has been agreed, CH2M will be undertaking more detailed analysis of the options, which aim to protect Sidmouth from East Beach along through to Jacobs Ladder. 

Consideration will be given to options such as altering the existing rock groynes along the sea front, or adding more offshore breakwaters. Following this more detailed appraisal, further consultation with the steering group and members of the public will be undertaken during June to agree a preferred option. This will include a public exhibition in Sidmouth, the purpose of which will be
to gain as much feedback as possible to help inform the plan.

By the end of the summer, it is anticipated that the draft BMP, together with supporting documents, will have been produced. This will be followed by further consultation and the finalisation of the plan itself in the Autumn.

The council will then prepare a detailed business case to access government funding for the scheme.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, who is the Chairman of the BMP steering group said:

All the long list options have been appraised technically, economically and environmentally and the overall project aim is to develop one single integrated scheme for the seafront from Jacob’s Ladder to East Beach, and to inform a separate scheme for the River Sid that will be led by the Environment Agency at a later date.

In the summer we will be consulting with the public at large on the proposed options and we look forward to hearing the thoughts of the community on the practical measures that we hope will ensure sustainable management of the beach and continued protection from flooding and coastal erosion.