Members of the Steering Group (SG) for the Sidmouth and East Beach Management Plan (SEBMP) demonstrated unanimous support for the aims of the SEBMP last week by voting in favor of a final version of the proposed Beach Management Plan.
A report on the SEBMP will now be presented at a meeting of East Devon District Council’s Cabinet on 5 April 2017, when members will decide whether to adopt the SEBMP.
If they are in favor, this would allow the project to progress to its next stage – the production of an outline business case, leading to the implementation of a scheme of works to continue to maintain the standard of flood and coastal protection for Sidmouth, the East Devon District Council said.
At the meeting different aspects of the SEBMP were debated, including the consideration of installing a rock revetment (rock armor) along East Beach, which some of the Sidmouth community were keen to revisit as a defense option.
The unsuitability of rock revetment was reiterated by Natural England, the Jurassic Coast World Heritage team and the East Devon AONB team, who in a position statement prepared for the SG, confirmed unanimously that a rock revetment along East Beach would be environmentally unacceptable for two key reasons:
- A rock revetment is a hard coastal defense and does not fit in with SMP (Shoreline Management Plan) policy;
- A rock revetment is likely to have a significant negative impact on the setting of the World Heritage Site.
As the local Planning Authority, East Devon confirmed that this would be a material consideration for any planning application for works on East Beach, and as such they would advise progressing the preferred BMP Option, which the various statutory consultees are fully supportive of.