Slipway plan is unveiled

PUBLISHED: 10:06 28 March 2013 | UPDATED: 10:06 28 March 2013

The Mamhead slipway on Exmouth seafront is temporarily closed. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 1851-32-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

The Mamhead slipway on Exmouth seafront is temporarily closed. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exe 1851-32-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

Three different ways to rebuild the Mamhead Slipway have been proposed, with a final decision to be made by the summer.

But the preferred option could mean partially building on an adjacent green space at Mamhead Gardens.

Last August, the slipway, the only one in Exmouth suitable for large powerboats and trailers, was closed because of fears it could collapse.

Since then, East Devon District Council (EDDC) has been consulting waterusers and last week at the Royal Beacon Hotel engineers Royal Haskoning held a briefing on the three options.

The first is to re-build the current slipway on the same ‘footprint’.

This would be the cheapest and the quickest option, and could be built by the end of 2014.

The design would essentially be a rebuild and the process of getting various environmental consents would be shortened with the build-time as short as 20 weeks.

But there are drawbacks; vehicles with trailers would still need to reverse on to the slipway, directly off the Esplanade.

And the strong currents would still pose problems for smaller craft entering the water against the current. The tide is so strong because the tide is either coming in or water from the mouth of the Exe is flowing out.

The favoured second option is to build a trailer ‘staging’ area at the top of a slipway which enters the water at an angle to the west.

This could reduce road safety and tidal concerns – but part of the Mamhead Gardens would be developed, it would cost more and take longer to build.

The third option is to build a longer, shallower, slipway to the west of the existing slipway, adjacent to the seawall.

But again the tide is a concern, and water users could have their sight blocked to the west by the seawall.

Ed Hughes, of the Exe Power Boat and Ski Club suggested a fourth way – a temporary wooden slipway like the one built in 1999.

He said: “We are concerned that any solution will not be in place for at least one and quite possibly three years. It won’t just be last season written off but one possibly even two more years. Six months on from the initial problem, we have neither a satisfactory temporary solution, nor a firm plan in mind going forward.”

An EDDC spokesman said that they were looking at all the options: “We understand that previously there was a temporary solution and we are looking at that closely.

“But we would have real issues about how long we would spend seeking permission on a temporary solution when we were trying to find a permanent one. By the summer we would hope to have a single engineering solution on the table.”

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