Cliff fall safety measures at Sandy Bay
PUBLISHED: 09:59 25 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:59 25 March 2013
Rocks dating back more than 140 million years are being moved to a private beach to help protect holidaymakers and children from cliff falls.
But there are concerns that custodians of the World Heritage Site were not formally told of the move.
Devon Cliffs Holiday Park bosses have permission from East Devon District Council to move the rocks from a council-owned beach at Rodney Point to Sandy Bay next door.
Beachgoers often enjoy sitting under the cliff overhang at Sandy Bay – but a recent cliff fall has forced park bosses to put up signs warning people of the dangers.
But there are concerns that statutory consultees the Environment Agency, Natural England and Jurassic Coast World Heritage team were not consulted.
While Natural England were unable to confirm or deny they had been consulted by the time the Journal had gone to press, an Environment Agency spokesman said that as far as they could tell they had not been told either.
The agency is a consultee because the removal of rocks from a beach could impact on coastal drainage.
Earth science manager for the Jurassic Coast World Heritage team, Richard Edmonds, said: “The first we heard of it was when a member of the public told us about it last week. It is not an SSSI [Site of Special Scientific Interest] so I don’t believe a legal agreement is needed before work can begin. But obviously we are a bit disappointed that we weren’t told.”
He added: “It could be that it is just the messaging system has fallen down.”
Resident Joanna Bramwell said: “It is atrocious to think they are taking rocks which have been buried in the sand on the protected Jurassic coast to shore up some of their own bit of coastline where they have recently been doing some work installing a pipe.”
An EDDC spokesman said: “The contractors carrying out the works at Sandy Bay are doing so with the knowledge and agreement of EDDC.”
A spokesman for the holiday park said: “This was a safety issue to keep children and members of the public safe. Signs have been put up warning people of the dangers while the rocks placed underneath [the cliff overhang] are intended to make it as difficult and uncomfortable for people to sit there as possible.”