23. What is the glass panel installed on Sidmouth seafront, and how does it fit with the BMP?
The glass panel currently installed on Sidmouth seafront is one of the options being considered for the construction of the new splash defence as part of the Beach Management Plan.
The glass panel, manufactured by Flood Control International, is comprised of 2no. 19mm-thick toughened & heat soaked panes laminated together with a 0.89mm thick SentryGlas interlayer.
Both external faces are treated with a “self-cleaning” coating produced by Ritec. The coating prevents contaminants sticking to the glass allowing them to be washed off with rainfall.
The glass panel has been installed on a trial basis until April to allow us to test its suitability for Sidmouth, including its strength and the level of cleaning required.
It has been installed in a more exposed position on the crest of the seawall rather than on the line of the current splash defence to ensure that it has a thorough testing and that it is exposed to harsh conditions. If selected, the panels would be installed on the line of the existing splash defence.
The glass panel system is only one of many possible options for the new splash defence design.
Concerns have previously been raised regarding the visibility of the beach and sea if a wall alone was built, and these panels would provide a transparent alternative.
If glass panels are selected as a suitable option, they will likely be positioned on a low splash wall at key positions along the seafront where increased visibility is desired.
The final design of the panels is subject to change, and could include changes to the current plain steel finish of the metal or the profile of the panel to make it more in keeping with the wider promenade and existing street furniture.
It is likely that any final panel will be similar to that being tested, however, the final version would feature glass enclosed on all four sides to prevent damage to the edges of the glass panels, which are the weakest point.
The final construction of the splash defence is subject to several considerations including the ability to protect Sidmouth from flooding, the visual and amenity impact, and the cost of each solution.