Mamhead Slipway to close while vital seawall works take place

PUBLISHED: 12:59 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:59 08 August 2018

Mamhead slipway. Ref exe 01-17TI 4862. Picture: Terry Ife

Mamhead slipway. Ref exe 01-17TI 4862. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

An Exmouth slipway will be closed from next month to allow for works to improve the town’s ‘unprotected and vulnerable’ seawall.

Works to repair the revenant – or retaining wall – starting in September will mean that Mamhead Slipway will be temporary closed.

Last month, members of East Devon District Council (EDDC) agreed to go ahead with £400,000 works to repair the seawall at the western end of Exmouth seafront.

Mamhead Slipway will be closed from Monday, September 3, ‘to protect the public and ensure our contractors can work safely’.

Councillor Tom Wright, EDDC portfolio holder for the environment, said: “We do appreciate how important access to the water is for visitors and local residents and we will endeavour to limit disruption as much as we can.

“These works to the sea wall are essential to ensure it remains sound long into the future and it will complement the Environment Agency tidal defences, which are planned to start next year.

“The timing of the works does not fit well with end of summer potential use of the slipway, but we are restricted by the issues surrounding migrating birds and fish.”

EDDC had been hoping to combine these works with the Environment Agency’s planned tidal defence scheme but found the lower sections of the sea 
wall had moved away from its base.

A decision was made to go ahead with the repair works to avoid ‘catastrophic’ damage to the wall, the seafront road and surrounding properties as well as Mamhead Slipway itself.

According to the district council, the rock revetment, originally built in the 1970s, has become ‘increasingly ineffective’ in the last 10 years.

The rock at the western end is moving away from the toe of the seawall, leaving it unprotected and vulnerable.

A spokeswoman for EDDC said: “These works have been brought forward to ensure that the historic seawall, which is such an important defence as well as a valued asset to the town, remains in good condition.”

Work will be carried out by Kier Construction and will involve the installation of steel sheet piles around six metres out into the estuary, with rock armour placed between the 
new piles and the existing seawall.

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