A bid to overhaul part of Exmouth seafront in a £12million scheme to protect the town from flooding has been given the green light.
Detailed plans to transform the junction between Alexandra Terrace and the Esplanade and install flood walls and gates have been approved by East Devon District Council (EDDC).
Applicant the Environment Agency says the bid – part of the Exmouth Tidal Defence Scheme – will also improve public safety on the road.
The project at Alexandra Terrace will join up with flood defence measures in Morton Crescent to the west and at the Imperial Hotel to the east.
The tidal defence scheme includes a set back barrier – with several gates crossing roads and entrances – to prevent water overtopping the sea wall from flowing inland.
Granting the application approval under delegated powers, an EDDC officer said: “The proposals seek to provide a bespoke solution to protect the junction from tidal flooding by creating a holding tank of water on the Esplanade, preventing it from flowing towards the residential properties and town centre to the north.
“The proposals seek to rationalise the junction so that it only has one existing and one entry point in the form of the ‘T’ junction with the introduction of a pedestrian crossing point on the west side of the junction.
“While the character and appearance of the area would change from its historic openness, the well-conceived scheme is considered to enhance the character of this part of the Conservation Area and make it a much more useable space.
“Overall it is considered to be a well-conceived scheme in terms of its impact on the surroundings and is acceptable.”
The approved proposals include:
- A ‘shift in the significance’ for the space from a road junction to ‘an improved public open space’ protected from the highway;
- The space will retain the existing RAF memorial and be landscaped with an inner grass area surrounded by paving. New seating and a planting edge will integrate the new flood wall into the surrounding landscape;
- Realigned and raised road layout including two walls, one double-leaf road gate and two pedestrian gates;
- Maintained vehicular access to and from the Esplanade and Alexandra Terrace;
- The arrangement of gates would be quicker and safer to operate prior to a flood event compared to other options;
- There will be ‘a more channelled visual experience’ of the seafront when approaching the Esplanade from the town centre. This experience is short-lived and offset by the experience of the enhancements of the public open space.
Consultant Team Van Oord Ltd says in the application: “The existing road junction is a wide-open tarmac junction with two road entrances, which is dominated by vehicles.
“The existing layout of the junction means that there are a lot of places to look for potential hazards both for road users and pedestrians.
“The new design is intended to rationalise the junction and improve public safety by reducing the number of road accesses onto the Esplanade and improving the public open space at the seafront.”
The application stated: “On completion of the works, access for vehicles along the Esplanade will continue in a similar manner to existing during ordinary events
“At Alexandra Terrace junction, the road layout will be simplified to provide a more defined road junction. The surrounding layout will improve the access for pedestrians adding a second island and crossing point across the esplanade where people currently cross the road.”