A new study from Plymouth University, covering the coast from Sidmouth to Lyme Regis, has shown that the ‘broad brush’ predictions of coastal erosion in the regional Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), approved in 2011, need to be updated in the light of a more sophisticated analysis of the threats to different sections of the coast. An EDDC paper summarises the findings, the key points being these areas are predicted to have less erosion than projected in the SMP:
- The section of coast from Seaton to Lyme Regis.
- Much of the coast west of Highcliffe Close in Seaton, through Beer to the east of Branscombe mouth; and
- The majority of the coast from Branscombe mouth to the cliffs east of Sidmouth (roughly south of ‘Southdown’)
However these areas are predicted to see more erosion:
- In Seaton including some properties accessed off Beer Road and the Highcliffe Close area;
- Two small areas either side of Branscombe mouth; and
- Land in Sidmouth east of the River Sid including many properties accessed off Cliff Road, Beatlands Road, Southway, Laskeys Lane and Alma Road.
The key maps for Seaton in the paper are 10A Seaton Hole, and 10B. While some properties which were within the old erosion prediction zones are now outside them, others are now included for the first time or are in a shorter-timescale zone.
What can/will be done?
- EDDC’s Strategic Planning Committee considered the report today, and recommended that the report should be taken into account in revising East Devon’s Local Plan, and also that ‘further specialist combined work’ should be undertaken on the issues.
- EDDC’s Cabinet will consider the report (I guess this will be in November).
- I spoke today (I’m not an EDDC councillor, though) and said that in the light of the 100-year threat to Beer Road, the assumption of the SMP that the West Seaton coast should be subject to a policy of ‘managed realignment’ should now be questioned. In my view, this side of Seaton should be defended as well as the town centre.
- I also said that the proposals of the Seaton Beach Management Plan (BMP), which EDDC is developing, need to be reconsidered in the light of this new evidence.
- EDDC needs to communicate about the issues with residents in the affected areas. I mentioned today that the West Seaton and Seaton Hole Association (WSSHA) could help to facilitate this. The Association will be considering how to respond.
- I have asked for the Seaton BMP Stakeholder Group to meet.
- Seaton Town Council should discuss this at the earliest opportunity.