Monday, 19 March 2018

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

The BMP steering group met up last week:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: meeting Thursday 15th March

The following is a report from the chair of the VGS Futures Forum - who represents the Vision Group on the steering group: 

BMP March 15th 2018 (personal notes of Robert Crick)

Summary: I believe there may be room for hope (without foolish optimism) for a fresh start, building on the years of previous argument, with a new chair and new consultants, to progress towards consensus for an agreed solution.

Cllr Tom Wright chairing in place of Phil Twiss - again. He is a sailor who lives in Budleigh and, when asked, said he would be willing to continue as Chair.

There was an encouragingly professional and clear presentation from Royal Haskoning DHV consultants. They are using the Jacob’s Ladder beach as a template for the future of a protected Eastern Beach. They advised that the splash-wall will need to be raised on the Esplanade. Tony Burch provided them with a history of erosion rates. Crenulate bay theory (see footnote) was being considered.

We are now looking at the 3rd week in April for public consultation/presentation.
Ideas for presentation of the public consultation (likely to be at Kennaway House) should be sent to RHDHV’s Caroline, who is new to the team. She was not involved in the disastrous “consultation” attempt of August 2016. We told her that this had - in the opinion of many in the town - been poorly advertised, misleading and thoroughly counter-productive

CRAG representatives urged clarification of the objectives of the project, in particular that it is not about preserving the property of half a dozen residents on Cliff Road:

Agreed the main purposes of the works proposed are:
  • to avert a catastrophic flood in the town of Sidmouth if Pennington Point is outflanked
  • to reduce the rate of erosion on the eastern cliffs
  • to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the eastern beach
  • to improve the recreational amenitiy value of the mouth of the Sid, including SWCP & Alma Bridge, and better launching facilities for lifeboat, gig club etc.
On behalf of absent members of the SG questions were raised under AOB:
  • Does Seaton BMP with rock revetment and good drainage from the cliff top set a positive precedent for agreement from NE, WHS for our own BMP? 
Well, no because “Seaton already has a rock revetment and it also has a different environmental designation from Sidmouth”.
  • Ed Harrison of SVA, sent apologies for absence with this advice: “the proposed letters smack of blackmail and will achieve the same result as the ugly collection box on the esplanade.”
Suggested amendments to the draft letters should be sent to Dave Turner.
  • In the absence of several local representatives, I suggested that the Steering Group’s town representatives have ongoing grumbles about ways in which our participation has been marginalised and the facts have been manipulated. I indicated that we, local stakeholders, could help EDDC to “sell” the proposed plan and to secure matched funding from agencies, and financial contributions from the town - if there were more honesty and less bullshit in the communications from EDDC.
The Chair regretted that the press release following the December meeting had been misreported  by the press. This had produced a distorted view of the SG consensus, and had unjustifiably undermined public confidence. 

Research work from RHDHV Exeter, and San Francisco: Sustainable coastal communities: the use of crenulate bay theory at different scales of coastal management (PDF Download Available). Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/268735333_Sustainable_coastal_communities_the_use_of_crenulate_bay_theory_at_different_scales_of_coastal_management
“…Coyote Point,  in San Francisco  Bay,  California is a popular recreation area. Coastal defence structures are failing, leading to erosion of the coastal path  and  beach  loss.  In  order  to  develop  an  innovative  sustainable  solution  to  the  erosion problem,  whilst  maintaining  recreational  functions  and  good  public  access,  crenulate  bay  set-back options were examined…”

Historical archive : 2011 DMC notes: Development management committee members conceded that offshore rock islands have accelerated erosion of Sidmouth’s eastern cliffs.
“I have massive sympathy for the plight of residents in Cliff Road, which appears to have been caused by man-made intervention,” said Councillor Phil Twiss. “I feel guilty there’s a significant risk we generated the problem,” added Cllr Ben Ingham.

See also:
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: and (again) failing to get answers to technical questions from the District Council
Futures Forum: Beach Management Plan: new FOI requests on coastal and cliff erosion in Sidmouth

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

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