BMP will manage flood and coastal erosion risks at Seaton via the beach

Community groups and East Devon District Council have met for the first time to discuss the brief for a Beach Management Plan (BMP) for Seaton.

Seaton’s beach is an integral part of the town’s defences from flooding and coastal erosion. It diffuses wave energy and protects the seawall from damage, as well as reducing wave overtopping.

Once it has been formulated, Seaton’s BMP will act as a tool for managing the beach and minimising the risks of flood and coastal erosion. The Plan will take into account the other uses and functions of the town’s beach and, where possible, enhance or promote them.

It is envisaged that Seaton’s BMP will cover the coast from Seaton Hole in the West along to Axe Harbour in the East.

The meeting was chaired by Councillor Marcus Hartnell, East Devon District Council’s ward member for Seaton and lead councillor for Seaton Town.

Representatives from Seaton Town Council, the Town Development Team, Seaton parkrun, Axe Yacht Club and Seaton Sea Anglers attended and provided valuable input into the meeting.

Topics for discussion ranged from concerns over cliff stability along Old Beer Road and aspirations for the seafront to improved landing facilities for tourist boats.

In addition to the stakeholder group, who will be contributing their expertise and local knowledge to the project, the Environment Agency (EA) will also be acting as professional partners and will assist the council in the completion of the brief. They will also tender the project with a view to appointing a consultant who will undertake preparation of the BMP in 2017. 

Following the meeting, the council revised the brief for the project and circulated it among the stakeholder group and professional partners for comment. The project will be tendered in the new year with planned completion in Autumn 2017.

Commenting on the meeting, Councillor Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment said:

It is important that a long term strategy is put in place to protect both the residential and commercial interests of Seaton. However, this is a delicate balancing act that has to take into account environmental concerns and the natural course of erosion. The BMP process will improve our understanding of the coastal processes and risks, and help guide future decision making

The BMP is a community project and we will of course be undertaking full public consultation on the plan throughout its various stages.

Councillor Marcus Hartnell said:

The development of a BMP for Seaton is vitally important so that we have a clear plan going forward in managing our coastline and protecting our town. I found it particularly interesting listening to people who have had past experience of working off the beach, and understanding the reasons why they no longer operate. There were some interesting ideas as to how we could change this to encourage more activity on the beach, whilst also improving our coastal defences.