Appointed consultants will undertake technical investigations to support Outline Business Case for BMP funding

The project team for East Devon District Council’s Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (BMP) has begun the tender process to appoint a consultant who will carry out the next stage of the BMP process to implement a Sidmouth Beach Management Scheme

East Devon is looking for coastal flooding and erosion experts who will conduct detailed investigations and technical reports, as well as write an Outline Business Case (OBC), which the council will submit to the Environment Agency for their approval in order to access Government funding for the BMP scheme.

As part of the tender process, the consultants will be asked to price for Option S1 (to construct one or possibly two additional groynes on East Beach, as well as modifications to the River Sid training wall and East Pier rock groyne, plus periodic shingle replenishment/ recycling), with an option to add in S4 (to construct additional offshore breakwaters) should the funding sub-group identify that there is sufficient funding available for this more expensive option.

Option S1 is estimated to cost in the region of £9 million and is generally recognised as being more affordable, while  Option S4 is estimated to cost in the region of £18 million. Based on the properties at risk of flooding in Sidmouth, around £5.7 million of funding is likely to be available from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It is felt realistic that East Devon might be able to identify a variety of funding sources to provide the £3.3 million shortfall for Option S1 from partnership funding, but the council has not yet been able to identify how the additional £9 million shortfall for Option S4 could be achieved.

The partnership funding will be sought from sources, which could include residents, the local community, utilities and local authorities.

The consultants are due to be appointed in March 2017, so that they can start without delay once funding from East Devon District Council is in place in April, and will have until June 2018 to complete the necessary modelling and technical investigations, as well as to write the OBC. The project is to be delivered in two phases – Phase 1 (Modelling and Economic Baseline Investigations) will develop computer models to predict how the shoreline will respond to storms and the resulting flood risk, while Phase 2 (Option Appraisal) will use the computer models from Phase 1 to test and refine the preferred option with the aim of maintaining a healthy beach across both Sidmouth and East Beach.

In addition, the council is also tendering for surveys of the sea bed and sediment sapling via the South West Coastal monitoring Programme, so that those works can start as soon as possible once the weather has improved. The council anticipates that the earliest timing for the implementation of the Beach Management Scheme, is likely to be 2019.

Councillor Andrew Moulding, chairman of the steering group, said:

The BMP steering group’s funding sub group has been working hard to find potential funding streams for both Option S1 and Option S4 and there is a good chance that it will be possible to fund the preferred option (S1).The £3.3m partnership funding for S1 will still be challenging to secure over the next 18 months, but we are making positive progress with the help of the local community.

Dave Turner, Engineering Projects Manager for East Devon District Council, said:

By ensuring all the necessary tender processes are well underway, technical specialists can be appointed in March, and the works to implement the recommended Beach Management Scheme for Sidmouth will be able to proceed as soon as possible.