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SIDMOUTH: Coastal defence group holds its first meeting
Thursday, 27 February 2014
A group formed to steer the delivery of a Beach Management Plan for Sidmouth, by East Devon District Council and consultants Halcrow, held its first meeting this month, right in the thick of storms battering the coastline.
The meeting was chaired by Councillor Andrew Moulding, who also chairs the Sidmouth and East Beach Working Group. The council and the project team hope the public will play a big part in the initiative and they are invited to attend a walk-in session on March 6th to hear more about the project and the contribution they can make.
The research and information gathering project is the next step in addressing public concern over an increase in erosion and cliff falls along East Beach, Sidmouth.
It was recognised that this work is all the more relevant in view of the storms that have battered the British coastline over recent weeks and have done significant damage in Sidmouth.
Councillor Moulding said: “We always take the matter of coastal defence very seriously and the need for this was never more strongly underlined than by the weather we have had of late, which has hit national and even international headlines.
“The aims of the project are to make sure the sea defences are performing as well as expected and to slow down the rate of beach and cliff erosion at East Beach.
“I hope that the formation of the steering group shows that EDDC wants to work with the community in this project and to be transparent about the findings.”
The membership of the steering group aims to reflect the wide range of groups that have an interest in Sidmouth’s beaches. The project will take into account the fact that these beaches have amenity, commercial and community uses and coastal defence, habitat and earth science functions, all of which have social, environmental and economic value.
EDDC wants the members of the steering group to bring local knowledge and views to the project and identify any opportunities for joint working or any hurdles that may have to be overcome.
The project team would also like the public to help by providing local knowledge and information about the beaches going back as far as anyone can remember.
They can either provide this through a steering group member or by attending the first of two walk-in community engagement events on March 6th at Sidmouth Sailing Club from 3pm to 7pm at which the public can also learn more about the project (more details to follow next week).
People are asked to bring videos and photographs of the recent storms and any other information they may have, going back as far as possible, which will help the project team understand how the beaches and cliffs have changed over the generations and assess historical erosion rates.
Among the groups represented at the first meeting were: Natural England, Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce, CRAG (Cliff Road Action Group), Sid Vale Association, and Vision Group for Sidmouth.
Others from the community invited to join the steering group are: Sidmouth and District Hospitality Association, Sidmouth Sailing Club, Sidmouth Lifeboat and representatives of Sidmouth fishermen.
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