Budleigh residents to have say on Otter restoration project

PUBLISHED: 14:12 30 May 2017

A view of salt marshes in the Lower Otter Estuary - the aim of the Lower Otter Restoration Project is to create more of these.

A view of salt marshes in the Lower Otter Estuary - the aim of the Lower Otter Restoration Project is to create more of these.

Archant

Budleigh residents will have a chance to have their say on controversial plans which could see the reintroduction of tidal flooding to the River Otter.

The Lower Otter Restoration Project (LORP) has been investigating ways to relieve the pressure on 200-year-old sea defences at the mouth of the river.

Historically, areas surrounding the river have been prone to flooding, including Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club and South Farm Road.

While details of the options are yet to be released, it is believed that one of them involves the reintroduction of tidal flooding, meaning that land surrounding the lower end of the estuary would be reclaimed by the river.

This would force the relocation of the cricket club and see the creation of a new raised footpath in South Farm Road.

Project partners, Clinton Devon Estates, Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust and the Environment Agency, are holding a consultation event at Temple Methodist Church, in Fore Street, on Wednesday, July 5, where residents will have the chance to have their say.

Dr Sam Bridgewater, Clinton Devon Estates’ head of wildlife and conservation, said: “We want to work with nature, rather than against it, in the face of continuing climate change which is resulting in rising 
sea levels and increased 
erosion.

“If we do nothing, there is a danger public footpaths will be lost, and there will be continued flooding of the road near South Farm and the cricket club.

“Now that we have produced four options which we believe may help us achieve our objectives, we want to discuss them directly with local people to see what they think.”

During this phase of the project, LORP is seeking funding for the potential relocation of the cricket club, which sits on the banks of the river.

The next phase would involve seeking planning approval.

Full details of the four options will be available at the consultation event between noon and 7pm.

The material from the exhibition will also be available online the following day, and feedback can be given on the day or via the website www.lowerotterrestorationproject.co.uk, where people can also find out more about the background to the project.

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