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Beach Management Plan. Revetment, part 1

  • by JW

There have been many meetings of the BMP Steering Group since it was set up five years ago, but things seem to be very much going nowhere – although now that there is a new chair, there should be a new impetus and a new approach:

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan meetings


Up to now, the ‘official’ line on what should be done to stop further cliff erosion is the ‘preferred’ Option 4 – aka a super groyne:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: Local stakeholders welcome project consultant’s report >>> Options S4 and S4b “technically preferred”


The local representatives on the Steering Group have supported the ‘technically preferred’ Option 4b – aka another rock island:
Beach Management Plan: looking for funding for the ‘technically preferred’ option 4b
Beach Management Plan: Option 4b or not 4b > or: how to ignore everyone else’s opinion


But the preference which goes back some time and which is now emerging is that of revetment – aka rock armouring…


This Devon County Council document is from 2003, when rock revetment was first considered:

Report of Committee Site Visit
Planning/Highway Consultation
East Devon District: Proposed Rock Revetment Designed to Reduce Erosion of the Cliff Face at Pennington Point, Sidmouth 
Date Consultation Received by the County Council: 28 January 2003
Report of the County Environment Director

Futures Forum: 28th January 2003: “EDDC is proposing a coast protection scheme aimed at reducing the rate of cliff erosion at Pennington Point. The scheme would protect the properties located at the top of Salcombe Hill and the Alma Bridge.”


In 2011, residents of the properties above Pennington Point suggested such a scheme:

Residents devise £900k bid to halt Sidmouth cliff erosion
CLIFF-top residents have devised a £900,000 scheme they hope will stop Sidmouth’s crumbling coastline from claiming their homes

CLIFF-top residents have devised a £900,000 scheme they hope will stop Sidmouth’s crumbling coastline from claiming their homes. Householders say a 210 metre-long granite revetment can halt rapid erosion of the town’s east cliff and Pennington Point. They fear having to one day abandon their homes as gardens topple into the sea at a rate of 13ft a year.
Residents devise £900k bid to halt Sidmouth cliff erosion – News – Sidmouth Herald

Futures Forum: 24th April 2011: ‘Popular Alma Bridge, a gateway to Salcombe Hill for a quarter of a million residents and visitors every year, is just 24 months and eight metres away from being lost forever, campaigning cliff-top residents fear’


The application was pulled by the residents as they awaited a promised move from EDDC:

Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: ‘accelerated erosion’ had occurred since 1996 – after the installation of rock groynes along the seafront in 1995


However, the former chair of the full Steering Committee has been against the idea, as voiced in April 2017:

Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: Cabinet approves next stage


And yet, the local MP has been very much in favour:

Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: to meet on 13th September >>> ensuring clear and accurate information is available so that decisions may be made on a responsible and informed basis


Meanwhile, compare what’s been happening in Seaton from a March 2018 meeting:

Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: meeting Thursday 15th March >>> report


And indeed further down the coast, rock revetment is also happening:

Cornish granite bound for Devon coast | Business Cornwall

Futures Forum: Rock armouring to protect South Devon coast


Here’s the best suggestion yet, from the former Vision Group rep on the BMP Steering Group:

Futures Forum: “Create a Mach-type art installation on the beach…”