Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: "the project is actively underway again"

[This replaces an inaccurate blog entry posted on 20th December: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: 12-month project to start in the new year.]

Immediate repair work is being carried out by the cliffs at Pennington Point:

Repair work to erosion at base of Sidmouth cliffs to take place within a fortnight

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: November 25, 2014

REPAIR work to erosion at the base of cliffs at Sidmouth caused by the recent storms, is set to take place within a fortnight. County engineers inspected the “hole” at the base of cliffs near the Alma Bridge and permission has been obtained from the Environment Agency and East Devon District Council for work to proceed. A team will begin work as soon as it is available and the expectation is that work will be completed by Christmas. Work will include filling the hole with concrete doweled to the rock with the masonry matching the adjacent Alma bridge stonework.

Cllr Stuart Hughes Cabinet member who's remit covers Bridges and Flood Protection explained that some residents of Cliff Road, on top of the cliffs, had expressed concerns about the impact the recent bout of erosion could have. “This is great news for the residents of Sidmouth and especially those who live on the east of the Sid who contacted me about enhanced erosion in the vicinity of Alma bridge and beneath the Hanger footpath,” he added.

Last November, the first stage of a Beach Management Plan, with the aim of protecting the cliffs from further erosion, was initiated. This involved a 12-month data gathering exercise, which came two years after district council cabinet members backed a move for a beach management plan, following a campaign by Cliff Road residents who have lost several metres of their gardens over the years due to erosion

Repair work to erosion at base of Sidmouth cliffs to take place within a fortnight | Exeter Express and Echo

Meanwhile, the beaches along Sidmouth's town shoreline are to be recharged:
Futures Forum: Recharging Sidmouth's beaches
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: providing a protective 'winter blanket' with emergency funding

In the District Council's press announcement
18 December 2014 - Shingle recycling at Sidmouth to start first week of January - East Devon District Council

... reference was made to the larger context of the Beach Management Plan (BMP) project which has been ongoing for some time, primarily gathering information:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: "reports will not be available for discussion until next February"

Earlier this month, an updated project plan was forwarded to the Steering Group of the BMP, which includes representation from Natural England and the Environment Agency.
Here is a statement from a member of the Steering Group:

"The whole BMP project has slipped by about 10 months because of delays in gathering all the project specifications about the 1990s beach defence work. Now the project is now actively underway again. 

"It is expected that the next community information event about the proposed management plan for Sidmouth beaches will take place in the summer of 2015."

The officer leading the BMP project addressed the Town Council at its latest monthly meeting, as set out in the agenda:

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan

Keith Steele, EDDC, will attend this meeting to give an update regarding the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan.

Members are reminded that minute number 201 from the Town Council meeting held on 7 January 2013 read as follows:

EDDC officer Keith Steele attended the meeting and gave an explanation and update on the Beach Management Plan so that Members could consider this issue prior to the budget meeting.

RESOLVED: That whilst Sidmouth Town Council support the Beach Management Plan in principle any financial contribution from the Town Council would not be considered until after the brief had been completed and the shortfall to the tender was known. A representative of the Town Council should be included in any Beach Management Plan Committee/Working group to take part in discussions.


These are from the minutes of the same meeting:

Public Open Question Time

 Mr Richard Eley reported that he believed the draft report for Pennington Point should be revised to reduce the erosion rate in order to save the Alma Bridge, river Sid and eastern town.

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan

Keith Steele, EDDC attended the meeting to give an update regarding the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan.

At a meeting held on 7 January 2013 it was resolved that whilst Sidmouth Town Council supported the Beach Management Plan in principle any financial contribution from the Town Council would not be considered until after the brief had been completed and the shortfall to the tender was known.

Mr Steele reported that the total contract was £80,000 with funding commitments received so far from EDDC £27,000, Environment Agency £35,000 and Cliff Road residents £7,5000.

Mr Steele asked whether Members would consider a contribution of £10,000 from the Town Council towards the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan.

RESOLVED: that Sidmouth Town Council contributes £10,000 towards the Sidmouth Beach Management Plan.


The Shoreline Management Plan policy document from consulting engineers Halcrow recommends the general policy of 'hold the line'.
This is from the section on the 'short-term' preferred policies:

Implementation of Managed Realignment could involve extending the beach management activities at Sidmouth to also cover this section of coast, including the periodic beach recharging that occurs along the adjacent frontage.

Providing a healthier beach to help protect the cliff toe is the intention here but uncertainty remains over exactly how this policy could be implemented in a sustainable way, addressing technical, environmental and economic concerns.

Further detailed investigation is needed during this period to determine the most appropriate means of implementing this policy to achieve the aim of the Plan. 

With comment:

> The term ‘Managed Realignment’ has replaced the term ‘managed retreat’, as it was not assumed that the only intervention was to slow erosion: this could include nil erosion, or even trying to gain ground back.

> Specifically, the policy of 'Managed Realignment' for the area around the mouth of the River Sid allows for the installation of more significant defences for Pennington Point in order to protect the cliff top and town properties (not just domestic properties). 

> The BMP Steering Group will try to ensure that a requirement for ongoing reviews of the status of erosion is included in the Plan - there will need to be an agreed condition after which more extensive protection would be funded and installed. 

> That status might be seen to be already existing - in which case, the Plan would already include more solid defences than simply a managed beach.


See also:
East Devon District Council - Coastal Protection

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