The Sidmouth and East Beach coastal defence scheme has been fully approved by the Environment Agency, with £16million of funding from the UK Government.

The project will protect 113 residential and 70 commercial properties from the risks of sea flooding and cliff erosion and will cost around £20 million. East Devon District Council will provide £2.25 million of already approved funds with additional funding from Devon County Council and other local bodies.

Consultants will soon be appointed to revisit the outline design, with design and modelling to take place through 2024 and 2025. The public will be invited to a consultation to help shape the final design prior to the planning process and construction will follow once this is granted.

Part of the planned improvements include one or more offshore breakwaters, a new rock groyne at East Beach and raising the splashwall at the east of Sidmouth’s Esplanade will be raised. All planned changes will be done in a manner that keeps Sidmouth’s historic architectural and natural beauty in mind.Councillor Geoff Jung, EDDC’s Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment, and Chair of the Sidmouth Beach Management Advisory Group, told reporters: “The announcement that the Environment Agency have agreed to these vitally important coastal defences for the better protection to the seafront at Sidmouth is fantastic news. It has been a massive challenge to provide the maximum protection with the minimum impact to the visually important historic sea frontage.

“I would like to thank everyone from our Engineers, Consultants, the Environment Agency, plus the team of local representatives, the Town, District and County Councillors plus our MP who have all contributed to overcoming the many hurdles and challenges over the last few years.”

East Devon District Councillors for Sidmouth and Sidford councils said: “This is excellent news and achieved by everyone working together over several years. Our thanks to the Environment Agency, Devon, East Devon and Sidmouth Town Councils and our MP. Sidmouth have been waiting for this for a number of years and to have confirmation that design work will start in 2024 is fantastic news for our residents.”

For more information about the plan, you can find further details and updates here.