Imperial ground work go ahead for this summer

PUBLISHED: 09:45 20 February 2012

Damaged revetment blocks at the Imperieal Recreation ground. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 7604-14-11AW

Damaged revetment blocks at the Imperieal Recreation ground. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exe 7604-14-11AW

Archant

A £775,000 scheme to prevent the Imperial Recreation Ground from sliding into the Duck Pond and to safeguard the public from toxic substances has been rubberstamped.

But the works could render the site, a local beauty spot, unusable by the public over the summer.

The site is built on top of an old dump and the stone ring, built 20 years ago to hold it in place, is, bit by bit, falling to pieces.

Some 50 years’ worth of dumped glass, bricks, stone and slate are either gradually being washed up to 30 metres out into The Exe, or are making their way to the surface through the top soil.

And investigations have shown that there is the potential for ‘health pollutant linkages’ from lead or a cancer-causing hydrocarbons in the top soil.

So the East Devon District Council wants to lay three metres of new top soil, repair the concrete revetment and extend it further into the ground to anchor it.

But to do this 22 trees – at least two thirds – will have to be felled and replaced while the works will have to be carried out all summer.

At the district council’s development management committee councillor Steve Gazzard said: “I am concerned about the numbers of trees that will be removed and there should be some form of protection of these trees.

“I think the issues need to be looked at in depth and I believe a deferment would be beneficial.

“I recognise that some people have not been consulted.”

Senior planning officer Ed Freeman said: “While the visual impact of the works would be appreciable and permanent, this would be outweighed by the environmental benefits derived from the necessary removal of debris.

“We did put up some notices hoping to capture some of the people who use the area to inform them what was happening but there were no immediate neighbours to write to.”

Councillor Vivien Duval-Steer said: “This is more and more urgent with almost every tide.

“There is more and more pollution, bits of glass and other horrible things.

“It is urgent we do something.

“It is such a shame that all the trees around the periphery will have to go.”

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