Based on the existing 2015 Beach Management Plan, this report is to recommend setting up an Advisory group to assist the scoping of potential beach works (Beach Management Scheme) that could be carried out pending funding being found.
Work towards a Beach Management Plan was undertaken in 2013 which assessed Exmouth alongside Dawlish Warren, the latter of which required extensive works at the time. Since it was written, the management of Exmouth has been split from the work at Dawlish Warren, and the Environment Agency’s Coastal Protection Scheme addressing flood and coastal risk to the western end of the frontage is nearing completion. There was ongoing depletion of beach material which was affecting the useable space on the shoreline and had uncovered infrastructure on the beach such as storm outfalls.
The proposal seeks to investigate and explore the issues and options for improvement to the beach. Based on the existing 2015 Beach Management Plan, the report was to recommend setting up an Advisory group to assist the scoping of potential beach works (Beach Management Scheme) that could be carried out pending funding being found.
Discussions included the following:
· Pleased local knowledge had been sought
· Beach has changed beyond recognition, huge area of sand lose
· Exmouth beach front was the jewel of the crown for the town, concerns to what may happen to tourism if these issues were not addressed
· The whole of the town’s economy relies on the seafront, recycling of sand was a short-term measure
· The need to raise the profile of this problem with the Environment Agency
· The need to work with numerous partners to get structure and knowledge to go forward with the plan
The Portfolio Holder Culture, Tourism, Leisure and Sport wished to thank Tom Buxton-Smith, Engineering Projects Manager and his team for the report.
1. that the content of the report and need to set up an Exmouth Beach Management Plan Steering Group to advise Cabinet and the proposed terms of reference for it, be noted,
2. Request that following being established the Exmouth Beach Management Plan Steering Group progress work towards developing a new beach management plan for Exmouth, with further reports to be brought back to Cabinet as it developed and identified whether any interim actions were required.
RECOMMENDED to Council:
3. that the Steering Group be established on the basis of the Terms of Reference appended to the report and that its membership be agreed at the Annual Meeting of the Council.
Exmouth beach and seafront was an important asset to the town and wider area. It provided recreational facilities to local residents as well as bringing in both day visitors and holiday makers. The visitors to the beach provided an economic benefit to the town and local businesses, many of whom were reliant on the tourist trade. Beach works were unlikely to attract significant central government funding, so expectations on what could be afforded should be realised and what could be done with whatever funds were available should be guided by an advisory group made up of local beach users. This group would consider various options and the likely funding required, and make recommendations to cabinet. Although the existing BMP was due for updating, given the beach loss it seemed prudent to advance any physical works as quickly as feasible, rather than delay by updating the BMP first.
The BMP would need to be updated and it would be an efficient use of resources to follow the design and implications of any physical works with an updated BMP.
This would fulfil the current service plan objective to look at options for managing Exmouth Beach following the 2015 BMP and its outstanding action to address beach levels from the 2020s.