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Seafront defence task and finish group meeting. (Report 1).

Seafront defence task and finish group meeting. (Report 1).

The meeting started promptly at 16.00 and seemed to be well attended by several councillors. I couldn’t tell how many as I couldn’t see all of them on screen. However I did spot Freda.

This was the second meeting of this committee.

I had gone through all of the information that appeared on the PNF website and had a few questions that I would have liked answers to but there was no open forum or opportunity to ask them.

From what I gathered, it would seem that the building of the wall was a done deal, it was just the details that are to be decided on. The first half hour of this one hour meeting was given over to much discussion about publicising the wall. There were questions about whether PNF had put anything on their website.

Councillor Dave Thomas said he had tried to google PNF but could only find the PNP.

One of the council employees eventually found the PNF website. There was a very valid suggestion that a prominent link from PNP to PNF would be a good idea.

Once the PNF site was found the sites Sea Wall information was shared. There was much praise for the comprehensive way in which the information was shown and in particular for PNF’s webmaster.

One suggestion for a public display was to put a detailed display on the fencing that is around the Midas temporary storage site. Kevin Mowat said that the council had reserved the right to be able to do something like that. Kate Spencer, one of K.M.’s staff was keen to progress publication of the wall in a prominent public position where it would be easily seen by the general public as they were walking at the sea front during the Christmas period.

During the second half of the meeting it soon became apparent that the wall would be made of precast concrete which is probably very sensible as it would be stronger than a brick or natural stone construction. The discussion then centred around sculptured decorations. There was a strong general consensus that local artists should be used and suggestions included, possibly, students from Paignton Tech College.

I got the distinct impression that generally, very few people in Paignton were aware of the proposal to build the wall. As I have said it seems that the building of it seems a done deal but there are several questions to be answered.

Drainage is a major question. When the sea overtops the wall where will that water go? Presumably this would be happening in conjunction with a storm and therefore heavy and probably prolonged rain. This brings the probability of excess water flowing down from higher ground that would normally drain out to sea but with a sea wall this would not be possible. We don’t want to prevent one form of flooding only to create another one.

I’m sure this has been thought about but this meeting didn’t mention it.

There is one unconnected but positive side effect that building a sea wall would bring. It would stop/make it more difficult for unauthorised vehicles and caravans to invade Paignton green.

The meeting wound up at 16.50. Next meeting, 11th January with a preliminary planning application in February. Apparently there is some urgency regarding the planning application in order that a funding deadline isn’t missed. There is an initial expectation that work on construction could possibly start around August 2021.

Lionel Uden.

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