“Consultants will soon be appointed to draft the outline business case needed to secure £5.7million in Government funding for a project to shore up Sidmouth seafront.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) has begun the tendering process for coastal flooding and erosion experts who will conduct detailed investigations and technical reports for its beach management plan (BMP) for the town.
The chosen consultants will start this April and have until June 2018 to write an outline business case, which will be submitted to the Environment Agency for approval in order to access the funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Councillor Andrew Moulding, who chairs the BMP steering group, said there is a ‘good chance’ of securing the extra £3.3million needed to implement the authority’s preferred BMP scheme, option 1.
But a spokeswoman said EDDC has ‘not yet been able to identify’ where another £9million would come from for more costly defences that experts judged were the best, both technically and environmentally.
The BMP is likely to be implemented in 2019 at the earliest.
As part of the tender process, the consultants will be asked to price up option 1 – to build one or two additional groynes on East Beach, modifications to existing defences and periodic shingle replenishment and recycling.
This scheme was judged to give the best balance between technical viability, environmental acceptability and economic case.
Option 4 – to construct more offshore breakwaters – is still on the table and the consultants will have the option of adding it in if BMP steering group members determine that sufficient funding is available.
In phase one of the project, the consultants will develop computer models to predict how the shoreline will respond to storms and the resulting flood risk.
In the second phase, they will use the computer models from phase one to test and refine the preferred option with the aim of maintaining a healthy beach across both Sidmouth and East Beach.
EDDC is also tendering for surveys of the sea bed and sediment sampling via the South West Coastal Monitoring Programme so that those works can start as soon as possible, once the weather has improved.”