The Draft Economics Note (based on the PF calculator) contains likely increased funding eligibility which has implications for ongoing options for the BMP, subject to debate by the Advisory Group. Tom Buxton-Smith, the EDDC project manager, will present the paper and answer questions.
The Engineering Projects Manager set out to the Advisory Group the options before them following a review of the funding of the project, referred to as the economics of the project. The updated economics were key to reflect change to previously underfunded scheme. The update was that the project was between 111% and 133% funded, following the reapplication of the PF calculator, as well as work uncovering missed benefits.
The benefits of reviewing the Beach Management Plan (BMP) options were:
· Potential to investigate other options that were previously dismissed because they were too expensive under the terms of the previous fund limit; providing that those options deliver the same benefit and therefore provide the same funding eligibility;
· Review if there is the potential for a more sustainable options;
· Review if the splash wall requirement could be reduced;
· Review for a better East Beach option.
The negatives to revisiting the BMP were:
· Expected minimum delay of six months
· This would then move construction on site from year 2 to year 4 of the project
· Risk in that the alternative option selected may still be unaffordable, or may not offer the benefits required;
· Other options not recently tested for public acceptance.
If the BMP was revisited again, there would still be the requirement for Cabinet to agree before that work could begin. If no better option was found to be available after such a review, the project would have to revert back to the current working draft option.
Discussion from the Advisory Group included:
· Concern about testing the splash wall, as it was felt that comparison with the solution at Teignmouth was not a fair comparison. The design stage would cover the testing of a wall solution;
· Questioning the potential delay if the scheme is reviewed, and what could be undertaken to speed that up; The Chair confirmed that combining lead times for the work would lead to considerable delay, including factoring in consultation;
· Any scheme should be subject to constant review, and that the working option wouldn’t get planning permission or be accepted by the Sidmouth population. In response, the current working option was re-iterated as likely to receive planning permission and the design stage would bring forward an attractive and effective wall solution;
· Concern that, whilst a review was welcomed to factor in the uplift in funding, any delay was of grave concern to the residents of Cliff Road, and that some form of interim works to support East Beach should be considered. In response, the Group were reminded that any permanent rock revetment at East Beach was not acceptable; however, investigation could be made into a temporary solution, whereby the rock used could then be relocated into the final scheme as an exit strategy for the temporary solution;
· The history of the scheme extended back many years, and any review would only delay yet again whilst erosion still continued, particularly at Pennington Point, and that now that the working option was fully funded, work should commence;
· Any temporary solution would have to be run past the Environment Agency assessors; using an adaptive pathway approach to include a temporary solution that then can be fully utilised in the final scheme;
· Geotube solution for under the cliff (and therefore visible) was not a viable option because of the risk of vandalism and the solution failing; however such a solution could be modelled for other areas of the scheme as am immersed solution;
· OBC needs to be updated to reflect climate change impact on beach levels.