Cliff safety works to be completed across East Devon

Mary Youlden's picture
Authored by Mary Youlden
Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 2:02pm

Council will begin cliff safety work across the district from 11 February 2019 – this important work will help manage the risk to people who want to enjoy our unique stretch of coastline, which forms part of the Jurassic World Heritage Site 

Following recommendations made in East Devon District Council’s 2018 cliff inspections report, cliff safety works are to be completed at Beer, Seaton and Sidmouth. The works are designed to manage public safety at these locations. 

The first scheme on the list is the installation of 15m length of catch fence adjacent to the Hideaway Café at West Walk, Seaton. The fence will be 2m high and is designed to catch material that would otherwise pose a risk to the public and the café itself.  These works are scheduled to commence on Monday 11 February and should be completed by 18 February. West Walk and the Hideaway Café will still be accessible.

At Sidmouth, the parapet wall at the top of Jacob’s Ladder is to be stabilised through installation of a concrete corbel. An additional concrete corbel (a type of concrete ledge) will be installed underneath an overhanging section of cliff above the walkway between Jacob’s Ladder and Sidmouth town. The works will also include repair to the dentition work (stones set in mortar) along the cliff face between Jacob’s Ladder and Sidmouth town. Work will begin on 25 February and will continue into March, and the works at both sites will be carried out Vertical Technology Ltd who have been appointed following a competitive tender process.

A section of the platform adjacent to Jacob’s Ladder will be closed during repairs to the parapet wall (this is expected to take around five days) and it will be necessary to close the Undercliff Walkway and cliff top path in Connaught Gardens between 25 February to 8 March to ensure public safety. Diversions will be in place and notices will be put up in advance of the work commencing. Repairs to the dentition work are likely to take around two weeks and the council anticipates these should be complete by the end of March. The Undercliff walkway will need to be closed while these works are in progress.

Two further schemes are currently being tendered. One of these is the installation of a drainage array in a section of cliff next to West Walk, Seaton, which will improve the egress of water from the cliffs and reduce the likelihood of a slip at this location. The final scheme is the extension of rock netting on the cliffs adjacent to the eastern extent of Beer beach, which is intended to prevent the fall of potentially unstable cliff material and reduce the risk to beach users.  

In addition to these larger works, the council’s annual cliff inspections will take place by end of April 2019. These inspections cover the cliffs maintained by the council at Beer, Budleigh Salterton, Seaton and Sidmouth, and are to be completed by the council’s rope access contractors Abcas Ltd, and will be supervised by an engineering geologist from John Grimes Partnership Ltd. Any footpath closures required will be announced by the council prior to the works. 

Cllr Tom Wright, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:
“We appreciate the public’s patience and co-operation during these works as we anticipate that some disruption will be unavoidable. However, these cliff works are essential to ensure that the public can continue to safely enjoy the beauty of East Devon’s unique coastline. Whilst we do all we can to make East Devon’s cliffs safe, they are vulnerable to extreme weather events and people at the foot of the cliffs should be aware that material can fall and, similarly, walkers should stay clear of cliff edges.” 

Follow @eastdevon on Twitter and https://www.facebook.com/eastdevon/ as we will be posting further information (start dates, diversions etc) on social media.  Email engineers@eastdevon.gov.uk for more info.