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Guide Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

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34. Why aren’t there three breakwaters?

In 1992 Posford Duvivier were instructed to find a long term and sustainable protection against coastal erosion, reduce overtopping of the seawall and minimise beach level dropping. The same scheme had to have minimal visual impact on Sidmouth and various defence configurations were tested including 3 breakwaters. Modelling showed that  two offshore breakwaters and two rock groynes as physical barriers for beach movement would provide the necessary protection to Sidmouth's frontage, and this option was less visually obtrusive than others; it was therefore taken forward.

The winter storms of 1995/6 had atypical easterlies which resulted in a build-up of material in front of the breakwaters. This had been anticipated but over a longer period of years.

In 1998 the Beach Management Plan was revised and various options, including a third breakwater, were again modelled to determine a solution that would reduce beach movement. This option was dismissed for being too visually intrusive. The option taken forward was a third rock groyne (known as phase 3), which was completed in 2000.