Report on cliff erosion of Sidmouth's eastern cliffs

The request was successful.

Dear Ms Symington,

I would like to make a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am also making this request under the Environmental Impact Regulations 2004 which require disclosure on the part of Local Authorities.

By way of introduction:

1) The Development Management Committee considered planning application 11/0904/FUL in 2011. The applicants had decided to withdraw their application however.

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1166931/sc...
eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1166901/combined-dmc-agenda-and-reports-061211.pdf

2) A press article from 2011 referred to this meeting and decision:

Sidmouth campaigners welcome cliff erosion solution vow
25 November 2011
Stefan Gordon
ACTION PLEA: Cliff Road residents descended on Knowle to hand over a planning application in April
CAMPAIGNING Cliff Road residents welcomed a district council pledge to urgently address Sidmouth’s rapidly eroding eastern cliffs.
It’s all been worthwhile if it gets action,” said homeowners who fear having to abandon their properties within 20 years. Paul Griew withdrew plans for a rock revetment at Pennington Point as councillors were set to reject proposals. “This is not even the end of the beginning,” Mr Griew said last Tuesday’s decision. I felt the councillors were saying they were actually prepared to do something, and to do it fast to alleviate all the problems. I won’t put my faith in the council until I see action.”
Development management committee members conceded that offshore rock islands have accelerated erosion of Sidmouth’s eastern cliffs. “I have massive sympathy for the plight of residents in Cliff Road, which appears to have been caused by man-made intervention,” said Councillor Phil Twiss. “I feel guilty there’s a significant risk we generated the problem,” added Cllr Ben Ingham.

www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/sidmouth-c...

3) The Cabinet addressed these issues in 2012, considering Flooding risk to Sidmouth through the effects of Coastal erosion at Pennington Point/Salcombe Hill Cliff:

http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1184300/ca...

4) A press article from 2012 referred to a specific report by Head of Economy:

Action plan to tackle problem of cliff erosion
2 February 2012
This is Exeter
‘EDDC Cabinet members were due to decide that £27,000 should be put towards a Beach Management Plan as a way of tackling rapid cliff erosion in Sidmouth. The idea had been suggested by a working party that was set up to look at the issue of erosion at Pennington Point.
In November, councillors on the council's development management committee agreed that a working party should form after considering a coastal erosion protection scheme that had been submitted by cliff-top residents who said their homes were threatened. It is thought that their homes could fall over the cliff within 15 years if action is not taken to halt the erosion.
The report by head of economy Kate Little confirmed that "accelerated erosion" had occurred since 1996 – after the installation of rock groynes along the seafront in 1995.
The money would be taken from the council's capital budget for which there is £27,000 remaining from emergency works in 2009. The plan was recommended for approval by council officers at the Cabinet's meeting last night.

http://www.thisisexeter.co.uk/Action-pla...

With reference to the above, I would like you to provide me with the following:

> Any statements in your own records which can verify and clarify the statements recorded by the press, referring to the Development Management Committee's consideration of planning application 11/0904/FUL in 2011:

"Development management committee members conceded that offshore rock islands have accelerated erosion of Sidmouth’s eastern cliffs. “I have massive sympathy for the plight of residents in Cliff Road, which appears to have been caused by man-made intervention,” said Councillor Phil Twiss. “I feel guilty there’s a significant risk we generated the problem,” added Cllr Ben Ingham."

> The full unredacted report by head of economy Kate Little confirming that "accelerated erosion" had occurred since 1996 – after the installation of rock groynes along the seafront in 1995.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Woodward

East Devon District Council

Thank you for submitting a request for information. We will respond to your request as quickly as possible, within the 20 working day statutory deadline under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

For updates on this case, please quote your unique reference number 101000804064 .

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Kate Symington, East Devon District Council

2 Attachments

Mr Woodward

 

Thank you for your request for information. Please find our response
below.

 

You asked for the following information:

 

Any statements in your own records which can verify and clarify the
statements in the press, referring to the Development Management
Committee’s consideration of planning application 11/0904/FUL in 2011

According to the minutes of the meeting of Development Management of 15^th
November 2011, this application was withdrawn from the agenda (see
attached pg 23). The minutes of the meeting can also be accessed from our
website here
[1]http://eastdevon.gov.uk/council-and-demo...

 

The full unredacted report by head of economy, Kate Little confirming that
accelerated erosion had occurred since 1996

The committee report prepared for application 11/0904/FUL is attached and
is also available from our website here along with all other documentation
relevant to this application
[2]https://planning.eastdevon.gov.uk/online...

 

I hope this information is helpful but, if you feel dissatisfied with our
response, you have the right to ask for an internal review by contacting
our Monitoring Officer at [3][email address]

 

You may also approach the Information Commissioner for advice at
[4]www.ico.org.uk

 

Regards

 

Kate

 

 

Mrs Kate Symington

Information and Complaints Officer

East Devon District Council

 

01395 517417

www.eastdevon.gov.uk

 

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Dear Ms Symington,

I would like to request an internal review.

I would like you to provide me with the full information which I originally asked for:

> Any statements in your own records which can verify and clarify the statements recorded by the press, referring to the Development Management Committee's consideration of planning application 11/0904/FUL in 2011:

"Development management committee members conceded that offshore rock islands have accelerated erosion of Sidmouth’s eastern cliffs. “I have massive sympathy for the plight of residents in Cliff Road, which appears to have been caused by man-made intervention,” said Councillor Phil Twiss. “I feel guilty there’s a significant risk we generated the problem,” added Cllr Ben Ingham."

To clarify, I had already viewed both the agenda and report to committee which you provided and which had been available on-line.
Again, I would like access to documentation which can verify and clarify the statements above as recorded in the press at the time.

> The full unredacted report by head of economy Kate Little confirming that "accelerated erosion" had occurred since 1996 – after the installation of rock groynes along the seafront in 1995.

To clarify, it is not clear whether the report to committee was authored by Officer Kate Little; furthermore, the reference as part of the Analysis to "accelerated cliff recession" on page 21 is a citation from the SMP2, but there is no reference to the dates.
Again, I would like you to provide me with the report by Ms Little that "accelerated erosion" had occurred since 1996 – after the installation of rock groynes along the seafront in 1995.

Finally, I would like an explanation as to why these questions have not been answered properly.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Woodward

Henry Gordon Lennox, East Devon District Council

Mr Woodward,

 

I am sorry that you feel dissatisfied with the response you received to
your request for information.

 

You originally asked for:

Any statements in your records which can verify and clarify the planning
statements in the press referring to the consideration by the Development
Management Committee of planning application 11/0904/FUL in 2011

We responded to say that this application was withdrawn from the agenda
and to provide you with relevant information which took the form of the
minutes from the relevant Development Management Committee meeting.

In your internal review request you have stated that you have accessed
this information but that it does not provide the verification or
clarification that you were seeking.

I am sorry but the council is under no obligation to provide this
clarification. Our duty under Freedom of Information (Environmental
Information) legislation is to provide recorded information. To that end,
I confirm that all of the documents we hold in respect of application
11/0904/FUL are published on our website and we no longer hold a paper
version of this file. We have also checked our document management system
and confirm that no documents have been withheld from the website relating
to this application.

 

You then asked for:

The full unredacted report by (former) Head of Economy, Kate Little,
confirming that accelerated erosion had occurred since 1996.

A copy of the committee report prepared for application 11/0904/FUL was
provided.

You have stated that it is not clear from this report whether it was
authored by Kate Little. I am advised that Mrs Little did prepare the
report for this application along with a report to Cabinet in February
2012 which can be accessed here
[1]http://eastdevon.gov.uk/media/1184232/co...
Both reports are published in full.

 

I confirm that this constitutes all information held in respect of your
request.

 

If you remain dissatisfied with our response, you may refer matters to the
Information Commissioner at [2]www.ico.org.uk.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

HENRY GORDON LENNOX

 

Monitoring Officer

East Devon District Council

Tel: 01395 517401

Ext: 2601

Email: [3][email address]

 

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Dear Mr Gordon Lennox,

Thank you for
- explaining to me why you were unable to provide me with a paper version of the file I requested, in that the council no longer holds a copy and that the document management system contains no further documents relating to this application; and
- providing me with the information I requested with regards to the authorship of the report.

Yours sincerely,

Jeremy Woodward

Henry Gordon Lennox, East Devon District Council

I am away from the Council until Monday 4th June. I will deal with you
email upon my return but please note that your email may not be read in
the meantime. If you need to speak with someone urgently, please contact
my PA, Wendy Harris, on 01395 517408 who will assist you further.

 

 

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