Funding milestone reached for Seaton flood defence scheme – and work could start in late 2022

Vital flood defences needed in Seaton have moved a step closer after the scheme reached its funding target.

Work on the project – which will better protect 41 homes – could now start in late 2022, says a ‘thrilled’ East Devon District Council (EDDC).

It will aim to slow erosion and prevent landslides to the west of the town by upgrading and enhance existing, ageing defences at the base of the cliffs.

The Seaton Hole Beach Management Plan (BMP) still need to net approval from the Environment Agency (EA) and bag planning permission.

Its key funding milestone has been reached after a successful bid was made to the South West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

EDDC and Seaton Town Council have also pledged extra cash.

And following recent overtopping and flooding on the Esplanade, the district council is also investigating if the BMP can be extended to cover the town.

A separate project to look at minimising flood risk is also being considered as an option.

Excavators have been used to re-profile the beach to resist wave overtopping in the short-term.

Seaton ward member and BMP chair Councillor Marcus Hartnell said: “In 2020, the rules regarding funding eligibility were changed by central government and reduced the BMP funding gap but did not close it.

“However, with a smaller funding hole to plug, EDDC and Seaton Town Council were able to help contribute funds.

“This allowed the final funding gap to be plugged by the South West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee which approved a motion to back the scheme.

“This is a significant milestone for the Beach Management Plan and a step closer to ensuring that the risk of flood and coastal erosion between Seaton Hole and Axmouth harbour are reduced, protecting property and infrastructure.”

EDDC leader Cllr Paul Arnott added: “I’d like to congratulate all the parties involved in securing the funding for this vital project.

“Only last week, Seaton seafront took a major battering, and there is no doubt that we must take action for this precious section of our coastline.

“From an EDDC perspective, the council is very proud of our lead officer’s work in bringing this all together.”

VIDEO: Woman found clinging to cliff near Seaton after breaking her leg was ‘one of the most demanding rescues’, says Coastguard

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