A £900,000 project aimed at helping to protect 41 homes above eroding cliffs at Seaton is more than a year away from starting.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) on Wednesday (January 5) announced plans to slow Seaton’s cliff erosion had taken a ‘major step forward’ with the hope work could start in autumn 2023.
EDDC said the Seaton Hole Beach Management Plan, which has been at the organisational stage for a year, had been given the go-ahead by the Environment Agency.
Now funding has been granted, the next step is to begin detailed design and further consultation to allow the project to be tendered, said the district council.
The council said the work will ‘bring improved protection’ to 41 homes above the cliffs.
And it will also involve upgrading and extending existing rock structures on the beach, in a bid to reduce the rate of erosion to the base of the cliff.
Additional rock placed on the existing rock will offer more protection to the toe of the cliffs from storms, said EDDC.
Work to the west of the beach is expected to start this year, because of the ‘worsening condition’ of an existing concrete-covered section.
Councillor Jack Rowland, who represents the Seaton ward and is EDDC’s portfolio holder for finance, said: “It’s great news that the funding is now in place to enable works to proceed to provide more protection for Seaton beach at the western end beyond West Walk that is even more essential in the light of climate change and the associated risks to our coastline.”
Cllr Geoff Jung, EDDC’s portfolio holder coast, country and environment, said: “Our officers and staff are working on various schemes with agencies and other authorities to protect our vulnerable areas of coast line, which due to climate change estimations will result in sea-level rise and increased storm events effecting our coast and low laying areas.
“This scheme is just one of many which will provide the required protection for these predicted changes.
“Therefore, it’s fantastic news we are able to move forward in the knowledge we have the required funding in place.”
East Devon District Council said works had been ‘advanced’ to the west of the beach, ahead of the main beach management plan project.
They are due to start in 2022 because of the ‘worsening condition’ of the concrete-covered rock section.
EDDC said ‘all being well’, construction could start in Autumn 2023 on the remainder of the plan.
An EDDC spokesperson said: “Back in 2019, the scheme had a funding gap of just over £400,000, however this has been closed by both the positive changes in central government funding rules, but also the hard work by EDDC officers, and members of the Seaton BMP stakeholder group, as well as further local funding being found.”