Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: steering group to meet in February - but plan not expected until September

The District Council has secured funding from the Environment Agency to move shingle to more vulnerable parts of Sidmouth's beach as part of its 'BMP':
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: providing a protective 'winter blanket' with emergency funding

And the promise has been that this will be more than just a stop-gap measure:
SIDMOUTH: Project will strengthen town’s coastal defences - View from Sidmouth

However, some residents disagree - especially as there will not be enough shingle to protect what is considered the most vulnerable part of the town:
Futures Forum: Recharging Sidmouth's beaches: underway... but not enough for East Beach
Sidmouth beach enhancement, EDDC-style | East Devon Watch

Moreover, the question remains as to how this will help or hinder the longer-term BMP:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan: "the project is actively underway again"

And with the elections looming, there are fears that there will be even more delays:
May election leaves Pennington Point, Sidmouth, hanging in the air – literally | East Devon Watch

As reported in the latest Herald:

‘Delays cost beach its political punch’

17:08 19 January 2015
Start of the work to restore the shingle on Sidmouth beach. Ref shs 0654-02-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife
Start of the work to restore the shingle on Sidmouth beach. Ref shs 0654-02-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife
The homeowners worst affected by Sidmouth’s seafront erosion fear they have lost the political leverage for action because of a 10-month delay in drawing up a blueprint for defences.

Cliff Road residents, whose gardens continue to crumble into the sea, can only sit patiently while a beach management plan (BMP) for the town is drawn up.
But with a general election in May, they are now unable to hold any political party to its promise.
The residents are calling for a short-term solution to the erosion, but this month learned that work to restore shingle to the town’s beaches would not extend to Pennington Point.
Cliff Road Action Group leader Paul Griew said: “Progress with the BMP is ridiculously slow. We currently have a Conservative MP and a member of government who could help. If we had the BMP before May we could have used the election to put pressure on the political parties to do something about it. We have lost that now.”
The £75,000 BMP is being drawn up by East Devon District Council (EDDC).
An initial delay pushed its publication back to April and it is now not due until September. Its recommendations are not expected to be enforced before 2017.
Cliff Road residents expect to get a draft copy of the BMP in the next fortnight, ahead of a steering group meeting on February 24.
Meanwhile, EDDC is moving a ‘winter blanket’ of shingle from the west beach to the main beach – but a lack of surplus stones has seen the eastern end lose out.
Cliff Road resident Martin McInerney said: “There used to be five metres of shingle at the foot of these cliffs. We don’t expect to stop the erosion completely, but there’s no doubt that the rate has sped up considerably since those rock groynes were installed.” He added that if regular shingle recycling had been done as planned the cost would have been spread out - instead it has cost a £100,000 lump sum from the Environment Agency.
An EDDC spokesman said: “Our BMP is currently under way and will consider the best options for reducing the east cliff erosion rate and coastal protection for Sidmouth. Baseline reports on the coastal processes, the coastal defences, the natural environment and economics will be discussed at a steering group meeting in February. We are waiting for the results and recommendations of the BMP before deciding what actions to take. Future work is dependent on funding from the Environment Agency.”
‘Delays cost beach its political punch’ - News - Sidmouth Herald
Sidmouth Herald - Profile pictures | Facebook

Meanwhile, however, work is being carried out at Pennington Point:

Protection work for Alma Bridge

15:11 19 January 2015
Wall repairs begin near Alma Bridge. Ref shs 5459-03-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton
Wall repairs begin near Alma Bridge. Ref shs 5459-03-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton
Work to defend the at-risk Alma Bridge and secure the crumbling cliff was due to be completed by highways crews as the Herald went to press yesterday (Thursday).

The project included protection of the walkway’s left-hand abutment, which was being made vulnerable by erosion of the cliff.
The crews were due to leave yesterday evening but will need to return to do the stone facing to match the existing abutments at a later date.
County highways chief Councillor Stuart Hughes said the second pour of mass concrete to underpin the cliff on the east bank of the River Sid was set to happen on Tuesday.
The project had been planned before Christmas but was delayed by tide times and contractor availability until last Monday.
Protection work for Alma Bridge - News - Sidmouth Herald

See also:
Futures Forum: Climate change... and protecting Sidmouth against rising sea levels

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