A ‘hole’ found by divers below Exmouth’s Mamhead Slipway has forced East Devon District Council (EDDC) to close the ramp indefinitely.

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A ‘hole’ found by divers below Exmouth’s Mamhead Slipway has forced East Devon District Council (EDDC) to close the ramp indefinitely.

It is feared that this larger hole or void could cause part of the slipway to give way at any time, with the possibility of damage to boats or vehicles or injury to people using the ramp to access the water near to the pierhead.

The hole has been caused by the eroosion of the sea-bed and EDDC said that the closure is in the interests of public safety and to allow for repairs to be carried out to the slipway.

The slipway is the west access point for craft to be wheeled into the water from Exmouth seafront and is used by groups including the Exe Powerboat and Ski Club as a launch point.

A spokesman said: “A routine inspection of Mamhead Slipway revealed a small hole in the surface which it was thought could be a sign of a larger space below caused by erosion.

“An inspection today carried out by divers confirmed that there is indeed a large hole caused by water action scouring the foundations. “

EDDC has put up warning signs about the closure of the slipway and will put in place a map showing alternative access points for water users.

The slipway is scheduled for possible refurbishment or realignment as part of a wider regeneration scheme for the area under the Exmouth Masterplan.

When a redevelopment scheme can be agreed, the intention is to release funds to improve the slipway.

However, erosion to the base of the slipway is an ongoing problem and this is believed to have been made worse by the heavy seas experienced earlier in the year.

Repairs will be carried out as soon as possible so that the ramp can re-open for the rest of the summer once it is considered safe to do so.

The cost of the repairs is currently being assessed.

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