This letter from a District Councillor urges caution. It appears in today’s OPINION page of the Sidmouth Herald (sentence in bold highlighted by SOS).
The Port Royal ‘five-storey vision’, reported in the Sidmouth Herald on 30th June 2017, poses two particular problems: flood risk and sewage. The Port Royal and Ham area, originally categorised as Flood Zone 2 was re-classified by the Environment Agency (EA) in 2016 as the high risk Flood Zone 3a.
EA updated guidelines apply to all new developments. They state that flooding will intensify in the South West: surface water will double (up from 20% to 40%) and river flow volumes will increase by up to 85% by 2080. Sea levels will also rise by up to 1.24m in the south.
This risk has already been recognised by Devon County Council which is at last planning to move Alma Bridge further upstream ‘by August 2018’.
Up to thirty dwellings were allocated to Port Royal in the East Devon Local Plan. But Councils have a responsibility to ensure that dwellings are built in suitable locations rather than on flood plains. Expanding the current footprint, as proposed at Port Royal, should certainly be avoided and a more appropriate site found.
Finally, the South West Water sewage works would be very close to future development. This must surely bear closer examination especially in light of:
A). The likelihood that the River Sid will become more exposed due to erosion and
B) The impact of noxious niffs and worse from the sewage works. Related incidents have already caused embarrassment for our local MP, Sir Hugo Swire, and Sidmouth scouts (May 2014).
If you’re worried about the proposals for Port Royal, do contact your District Councillors and the Town Council as soon as possible.
Cllr Marianne Rixson
East Devon Alliance