District council fails to explain why emergency seawall repairs at Exmouth are delayed

The district council has swerved answering why emergency repair works to Exmouth seawall will be delayed by two months.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has given no explanation to the reason why work to save part of Exmouth’s sea wall, which should have begun last month, is now due to get under way in March, writes local democracy reporter, Will Goddard.

When approached for an explanation to the cause of the delay, and for an expected date for the work to now finish, a spokesman for EDDC said: “East Devon District Council is working on the repair project plan with our contractors, weighing all the risks involved in the construction.

“Once we are able to confirm the repair timetable, we will.

“In the meantime, we are monitoring the state of the seawall.”

The £1.1 million emergency repairs should take around eight and a half weeks to complete, with a 255-metre barrier of steel sheet piles being installed between Sideshore, the retail and restaurant outlet, and Coastwatch House on the seafront.

It comes after cracks appeared in the wall, which is believed to be around 100 years old, in front of Sideshore last August.

Storms then weakened it further, putting it at risk of collapse, with temporary repairs of concrete blocks and sand holding it together.

Because it doesn’t have foundations and the beach is low at this section, waves have washed sand from underneath.

Designs and a construction programme will be released soon, East Devon District Council said, with more updates as work progresses.

The Environment Agency will contribute “substantial funding” to the project, but hasn’t said how much, the local authority added. Last year it was suggested the sum would be around £500,000.

Cllr Geoff Jung (Lib Dem, Woodbury and Lympstone) said: “We want the repair works to have the minimum amount of detrimental effect on visitors and residents who visit Exmouth beach by avoiding the busy summer period and the least amount of disruption to the businesses as well.

“However, some disruption is unavoidable for these emergency works, which we apologise for.”

  • Additional reporting: Becca Gliddon.

Women posing as a plain-clothed police officer and carer target homes in Exmouth