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2016 Beach Management Plan, stakeholders welcome consultant’s report

>>> Options S4 and S4b “technically preferred”

The cliffs are continuing to erode fast beyond Pennington Point:
Futures Forum: Pennington Point > latest cliff falls

And ‘what to do’ is clearly linked with the ongoing Beach Management Plan:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: and ensuring cliff falls are a thing of the past

On Monday this week, the Futures Forum of the Vision Group hosted a meeting of Sidmouth stakeholders. This is the press release as sent out by its chair:

Local stakeholders welcome Beach Management report

The Futures Forum of the Vision Group for Sidmouth (VGS) met with local stakeholder businesses, residents, councillors and organisations on Monday 8th August to consider a report prepared by project consultants CH2M for EDDC and the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan (BMP) Steering Group.

The report states that Option S4 and its variant S4b are the technically preferred option. This was welcomed by all present. S4b proposes a series of submerged reefs set away from the seafront decreasing in size (see illustration).

Consultants’ published version of variant Option 4b

Improved illustration of variant Option 4b showing reefs of decreasing size.

Sidmouth Town Council’s meeting on July 4th also voted to back option 4b.

Chair of the Futures Forum Robert Crick said: “The Steering Group is due to meet on Wednesday 17th August. We hope to work with EDDC to explore all ways of mitigating costs, testing the options, and identifying funding sources to achieve the most effective long term solution for the Sidmouth seafront, which we believe will be acceptable for the various statutory bodies such as Natural England, who in the past have consistently vetoed proposals for more rocks on the beach, as proposed by the other options.”

Local MP Sir Hugo Swire recently met the head of Natural England with EDDC Deputy Leader Andrew Moulding and Chairman Stuart Hughes on the eastern beach to discuss the BMP.

Sidmothian Mary Bagwell of Sidmouth Trawlers confirmed: “These agencies are the key to any agreement for works in this Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation on the World Heritage Coast.”

Sea levels in the South West are set to rise by well over one metre in the coming century, according to the Environment Agency. Mr Crick says the VGS believe that any plan requiring regular intervention to recycle or replenish beach materials is not realistic as it will require revenue from EDDC for the lifetime of the project, 100 years.”

He summarised the feeling of the meeting: “Sidmouth needs to protect its eastern cliffs, which have taken a terrible battering over the past twenty years, by improving the eastern beach using with reefs to deflect the natural energy of the sea to create a wide beach and a sandy foreshore along the whole seafront, just like the one behind the existing breakwaters.”

Chair of the Sid Vale Association Alan Darrant agreed: “The investment in what Halcrow describe as ‘the most effective solution’ would be more than worthwhile in the long term. It will be good for tourism as well as protecting the town from flooding.”

Sidmouth Herald (August 5th 2016) photograph shows wide sandy “Tombolos” that have developed on the Town Beach thanks to existing breakwaters. The beach protects the town from South-westerly storms meaning that the groynes can be removed and the materials used to build a series of new smaller semi-submerged reefs to the east which will have a similar long term effect.

A bird’s-eye view of Sidmouth – News – Sidmouth Herald