People have their say on options to safeguard River Otter

PUBLISHED: 06:30 09 October 2017

A view of salt marshes in the Lower Otter Estuary - the aim of the Lower Otter Restoration Project is to create more of these.

A view of salt marshes in the Lower Otter Estuary - the aim of the Lower Otter Restoration Project is to create more of these.

Archant

The partnership in charge of the Lower Otter Restoration Project have announced which option for the future of the estuary has the support of the community.

A project to help avoid the ‘catastrophic’ failure of the River Otter embankments in Budleigh Salterton could still cost up to £40 million despite public support for a cheaper option.

Earlier this year, the partnership behind the Lower Otter Restoration Project held a public exhibition in Budleigh to share four options for safeguarding the future of the estuary.

It has been revealed that most of the community supported option three which is estimated to cost between £8 million and £9 million.

However, the partnership, which includes Clinton Devon Estates and Environment Agency, has confirmed that they are still to make a final decision on the best way forward.

This means that option one, which could cost between £20 million and £40 million is still possible.

Dr Sam Bridgewater said: “We are very grateful to all the people who took the time to share their views with us at the exhibition, and through the website.

“It was most encouraging that three-quarters of the people who gave feedback were broadly supportive of the aims of the project.

“Further investigations on the ground are now being conducted. The results of these investigations, along with the public’s feedback, will help the project team draw up a more specific proposal.

“We look forward to sharing this with the public at a second event later this year.”

Option one involves realigning the main river by digging new channels and would involve rerouting the South West Coastal Path and removal of the landfill.

Under option three most of the embankments would be kept, replaced by ‘breaches’ in three places. The South West Coastal Path would be unchanged and the landfill would be ‘partially’ removed and capped.

Both options would involve removing Budleigh Brook aqueduct, the raising of South Farm Road and relocating of Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club.

For more information about the project, and to see a summary of the public’s feedback on the four proposed options, go to www.lowerotterrestorationproject.co.uk.

See also: Estuary restoration project could cost £40 million

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