The Sidmouth and East Beach coastal defence scheme has been fully approved by the Environment Agency, with £16million of funding from the UK Government.
The £20million project will protect 113 residential and 70 commercial properties from the risks of sea flooding and cliff erosion. East Devon District Council (EDDC) will provide £2.25million of already approved funds, with additional contributions from Devon County Council and other local bodies.
Design consultants are soon to be employed to revisit the outline design. Design and modelling will occur throughout 2024 into 2025 with the public being invited to consultation to help shape the final design prior to the planning process. Construction will follow on once planning is granted.
Planned improvements currently include one or more new offshore breakwaters, a new rock groyne at East Beach, and the splash wall at the east of the Esplanade will be raised. A new slipway access will allow improved maintenance and easier launching for the lifeboat and other watercrafts. The main and East beaches will be 'recharged', with levels to be increased using similar material dredged from offshore. All planned changes will be done in a sympathetic manner, keeping Sidmouth's historic architectural and natural beauty in mind.
Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC’s Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment, and Chair of the Sidmouth Beach Management Advisory Group, said:
"The announcement that the Environment Agency have agreed to these vitally important coastal defences for the better protection to the seafront at Sidmouth, is fantastic news. It has been a massive challenge to provide the maximum protection with the minimum impact to the visually important historic sea frontage.
I would like to thank everyone from our Engineers, Consultants, the Environment Agency plus the team of local representatives, the Town, District and County Councillors plus our MP who have all contributed to overcoming the many hurdles and challenges over the last few years."
East Devon District Councillor for Sidmouth Rural Councillor John Loudoun added:
“I am incredibly pleased for all the residents who live above East Beach, as well as those in the town who, if this project hadn't been so vigorously pursued would be so badly affected.
This Administration and its officers have worked tirelessly with all our partners over the past 4 years to get this this very important point, but the hard work to make this project a reality is still to come."
East Devon District Councillors for Sidmouth Town Councillors Ian Barlow and Sophie Richards and Sidmouth Sidford Councillors Mike Goodman, Stuart Hughes and Marianne Rixson said:
“This is excellent news and achieved by everyone working together over several years. Our thanks to the Environment Agency, Devon, East Devon and Sidmouth town councils and our MP. Sidmouth have been waiting for this for a number of years and to have confirmation that design work will start in 2024 is fantastic news for our residents.”
East Devon MP Simon Jupp said:
"I am delighted by today’s news confirming multi-million-pound government funding. Sidmouth deserves proper coastal flood defences, and this funding will certainly bring much-needed peace of mind to well over 100 residents and businesses. I would like to thank the team at East Devon District Council, as well as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for hearing my call to ensure the project can continue despite delays. I am now looking forward to seeing it be delivered."
For more information, visit the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan and Scheme webpages on EDDC’s website.