Environment Agency concern over beach huts

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 May 2014 | UPDATED: 16:00 15 May 2014

Budleigh beach huts were damaged during the storms earlier this year. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref exb 1486-06-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Budleigh beach huts were damaged during the storms earlier this year. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref exb 1486-06-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Year-round beach huts on Budleigh seafront could put people and property at risk, according to environmental chiefs.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has submitted a planning application for year-round huts, having already had them in place last winter, after its attention was drawn to a planning ‘anomaly’.

Budleigh Salterton Town Council voted to oppose the scheme last week, and now the Environment Agency, a statutory consultee, has also raised concerns.

Commenting on the application for the agency, sustainable places planning advisor Robin Leivers said: “The proposed development is located in Flood Zone 3, with a ‘high probability’ of flooding, and is properly accompanied by a Flood Risk Assessment, prepared shortly before the damaging storms of February 2014 that damaged many of the beach huts in question.

“It is clear that to site beach huts permanently on the beach will significantly increase the likelihood that they will be damaged in winter storms.

“Given that sea levels are rising and are predicted to rise at an increasing rate, and that such storms are predicted to increase both in terms of wind speed and wave height, we recommend that this proposal be refused on the grounds that is not safe [or] sustainable and puts people and property increasingly and unnecessarily at risk.”

More than 20 public objections to the plan have so far been submitted, including from the Otter Valley Association.

EDDC says its application is in response to demand from some users, and that it has processes in place to minimise the risk from the weather.

A final decision on the plan will be made by councillors on EDDC’s development management committee.

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