Farmer gets all clear in bid to reduce flooding

A farmer has finally been allowed to begin work to reduce the flood risk to the cricket club, his farm and homes – seven months after the district council first gave him the green light.

But East Budleigh’s Tom Pyne, of Pullhayes Farm, has had to shell out �24,000 for a new digger to do it.

The East Outfall on Budleigh beach has to be cleared regularly – or Pullhayes Farm, Budleigh Cricket Club and Granary Lane are at risk of flooding.

It is one of two vital outlets which drain excess water from the Otter Valley into the sea when it rains.

But, because of district council budget cuts, the passage is not cleared as often as it used to be.

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Previously, around �30,000 a year was set aside, but, this year, council chiefs even contemplated pulling the funding entirely before eventually slashing the budget to �19,000.

In February, Mr Pyne struck a deal with the district council to clear the East Outfall himself– and last week he got the green light.

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Mr Pyne, who has been losing �40,000 of output per year because grazing land, near South Farm Road, was constantly wet due to the outfall being blocked, said: “It’s been a long time coming and I’m pleased with the outcome.

“I have agreed to clear the outfall three to four times a week during the summer and less during the winter.

“It going to be a bit disruptive to one’s life clearing it at 7am, but we have no choice and at least now it’s under our control. I think it will take about six hours a week.”

To enable him to carry out the work, Mr Pyne purchased a JCB.

He said: “I have a six-month agreement with the council and, if after six months they change their minds, I’ll just have to take the loss and sell it on.

“The ideal solution would be to extend the outfall, but that could cost �0.3m, so this is the second-best option.”

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