10. What is a splash wall, why is it required in Sidmouth and what will it look like?
A splash wall is a secondary wall inland from the primary seawall. The primary wall takes most of the wave’s energy, but in doing so, forces the wave upwards. Some of the wave water will land on top of the sea wall or promenade in what is known as spray or slop. Once on top of the wall, water will drain to the lowest point, either back into the sea, but also inland, where it can pool in low spots overwhelming the local drain network, leading to property flooding away from the sea front.
Sidmouth already has a splash wall, which is the tired small concrete wall, which runs between the pedestrian promenade and the highway. To date, this has kept Sidmouth largely flood free, but looking towards the future, the wall will need to be raised to allow for predicted sea level rise and more frequent storm events.
Based on current predictions, the splash wall will need to be raised to approximately 1m above the pedestrian promenade level, but it needn’t be the same concrete wall construction as the current splash wall. This could be a great opportunity to replace the existing wall with something much more attractive, forming a ‘splash defence’ rather than a splash wall. We appreciate raising the wall is a sensitive issue, but it is required to reduce the risk of flooding to Sidmouth. The design isn’t fixed and we are looking at various options, which are sympathetic to Sidmouth, while still providing the level of protection required. Design options being considered including masonry walls, glass panel walls, community art walls, and integrated seating/planting walls among others. We would welcome the community’s input to this important element.