Friday, 28 October 2016

New plans for Alma Bridge - and a sea defence wall to protect Sidmouth’s eastern town from flooding

All the issues along Sidmouth's seafront are interconnected:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: discussing the funding challenges with the Environment Agency CEO
Futures Forum: Plans for Port Royal: anticipating a Regeneration Board >>> and developing the Ham...
Futures Forum: Flood management: how to hold back the waters >>> >>> "It will require flood schemes to be developed with communities and not just for them."

And that includes what to do with Alma Bridge:
Futures Forum: Sidmouth Beach Management Plan... Pennington Point... Alma Bridge... "Due to the environmental status of this site preventing any protection works, it is not possible for DCC to undertake the bridge replacement at its current position"

Here are the latest plans:

New, ‘sloping’ replacement for Sidmouth’s Alma Bridge in 2018?

September 2016 Stephen Sumner

Waves wash up past Alma Bridge on Bank Holiday Monday. Ref shs 13-16SH 9371. Picture: Simon Horn

The anticipated timeline of a six-figure project to replace Alma Bridge and protect Sidmouth from flooding has been revealed.

Councillor Stuart Hughes last week got the scheme into a six-year funding programme which is set to begin in 2017.

Devon County Council (DCC) plans to replace Alma Bridge with a sloping structure 55 metres upstream that will link to a realigned Hanger Path. The ramp will also form a sea defence wall to protect Sidmouth’s eastern town from flooding.

Cllr Hughes, ward member for Sidmouth and Devon’s flooding chief, said: “We now need to prepare a project proposal form with the aim of achieving about [a] 110 per cent partnership funding score, to give confidence that it will go through OK. Our bridge engineer’s programme suggests a construction start date of August 2017, so we have time to achieve the relevant notices and gain the funding approval sign-off.

“We are still at the preliminary design stage and there is a lot of work to do including consents and planning permission.

“We are also mindful of the Port Royal developments and are liaising with East Devon District Council.”

Cllr Hughes said work is expected to be completed by August 2018. The whole scheme will cost between £500,000 and £750,000.

Sidmouth Town Council has backed the project in principle and pledged between £10,000 and £20,000. The scheme has also had the expressed support of Natural England chairman Andrew Sells.

New, ‘sloping’ replacement for Sidmouth’s Alma Bridge in 2018? - News - Sidmouth Herald

This is what was being suggested three and a half years ago:

Plan to replace Alma Bridge

11 March 2013 Stefan Gordon

The proposed plans for Alma Bridge. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 8848-09-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Devon County Council bosses have drawn up a £250,000 vision to replace Sidmouth’s Alma Bridge and end uncertainty over its future.

The plan aims to retain as many of the landmark’s well-known features as possible.

It is proposed a new structure will span across the river and not be reliant on existing under-threat pillars which were undermined by flooding last year.

Councillor Stuart Hughes told the Herald this week that the whole of the bridge’s deck would be replaced and the central and eastern pillars would be removed.

He added that strengthening work will be required to support the new structure on the eastern bank.

Cllr Hughes said the new bridge would retain features of the original, including its ornate parapets, brickwork and stone features which are currently being stored in Newton Abbott.

A temporary bridge has been in place at the eastern end of Sidmouth seafront for six months.

Mr Hughes said proposals for the new landmark were subject to further discussions and, if the project progresses, it will cost £250,000.

He added: “It is imperative that the district council sorts out some rock revetment work for the Pennington Point area ahead of a beach management scheme.

“The bridge is a lifeline for people who live to the east of the river and for the town’s economy as the gateway to the coastal footpath.”

Plan to replace Alma Bridge - News - Sidmouth Herald

Meanwhile, the cliffs keep falling:

FOLLOWING a recent cliff fall at East Beach, a new sign warning of the dangers posed by cliff falls and rising tides has been installed by East Devon District Council on the emergency steps at Alma Bridge.

The new sign (pictured) features a photograph of an actual cliff fall, taken in 2009 by Sidmouth resident Eve Mathews, as well as graphics showing a cliff fall and rising tides, together with a link to cliff safety information on the East Devon website.

The council wants to discourage members of the public from using the steps by Alma Bridge to access East Beach from the town, due to the risk of being cut off by rising tides or rock falls from the cliffs.

New warning sign erected after East Beach cliff fall - View News

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