An £800,000 nine-month project to stop an old dump from polluting the Exe Estuary begins on January 21.

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But not all of the Imperial Recreation Ground will be closed at any one time – the work will be in phases to lessen the impact on watersports enthusiasts using the Duck Pond, dog walkers and on wildlife.

A ring of concrete keeps the ground, which sits on an old landfill site, in place stopping it from falling into the Exe Estuary.

But large sections of the ring are disintegrating because it was not properly fixed into the foreshore bed when it was built in the 1980s.

The Environment Agency are concerned that a cancer-causing substance, benzo[a]pyrene found in coal tar and tobacco could be released as a result.

To stop this the concrete will be replaced, a new foundation built and the debris cleaned up.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) says this will stop pollution and safeguard the land against wave action for the next 50 years.

The work will stretch from The Royal Avenue near the Rugby Club to the slipway at the Sea Scout hut.

Contractors will be using the Camperdown car park at the western end of Victoria Way, giving the public only limited access to the area.

The road and car parking on the recreation ground will also be closed and signs will tell visitors which areas are off limits and when.

Residents near the Camperdown Depot have been told the car park will be closed until early April and alternative arrangements are in place.

However some trees and the roadway will need to be removed but will be replaced after the summer.

The first of four phases, site set-up, is scheduled for completion by February 3.

Work on The Gut and slipway will finish by March 31 with revetment works until early June.

Landscaping will start after the summer.

Councillor Iain Chubb, EDDC’s environment chief said: “The contractor has agreed that he will do all he can to keep disruption to a minimum. This work is absolutely essential, so we hope that everyone will be patient with us and our contractor while we get it done.”

Call 01395 517456 for progress on the work.

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