The final date for feedback is Sunday 28 February.

As our climate is changing, sea levels are rising and more storms are hitting Torbay, we have been taking a look at our sea defences, particularly those in Paignton and Preston. 

Along with the Environment Agency we commissioned an assessment of our current coastal defences. This has shown that the sea defences we currently have on both seafronts at Paignton and Preston will only provide protection from flooding from storms for up to another 10 years.

It has been predicted that due to the climate change we will see the sea level rise in Torbay by over one metre. In the next 100 years the frequency and impact of water coming over the top of the sea walls will increase, resulting in more infrastructure and properties being affected by flooding. On top of that, more intense rainfall will increase the risk of localised flooding and erosion.

At the moment, whenever we experience storms like Storm Emma in 2018, up to 90 residential properties and just over 120 commercial properties are at risk of flooding.  The Torbay Coastal Defences report estimates that, with another 50 years of climate change, the total number of properties at risk of flooding would be 352.

By acting now we can rapidly reduce this risk to properties.

The maps below show:

  • Map 1 – Flooding – Present day without the proposed wall
  • Map 2 – Flooding – After 50 years of climate change without a wall
  • Map 3 – 50 years climate change after the proposed wall is built

In this video you can see the impact that flooding could have over the next 50 years in Paignton and Preston if we did not build a new sea defence.

Here’s a reminder of the flooding we experienced following Storm Emma in 2018.


Working together with the Environment Agency, who have recognised the urgency of this, our residents and local businesses around Paignton and Preston Seafront, we want to develop a scheme which protects and enhances the area.  A scheme that improves the seafront area and enhances the experience for residents and visitors who visit the beaches, Paignton and Preston greens and the surrounding areas.

Our Proposal

We are proposing that a sea wall that ranges from 1.1 to 1.5 metres is built along the two seafronts.

On Paignton Seafront it will run from Paignton Club all the way along the seafront to the Redcliffe Hotel. The proposal is for the wall to be positioned away from the current sea wall and will be built in the areas where the pavement meets the Green. The positioning of the wall is currently being determined and our current proposals are to run the wall behind the recently refurbished shelters ensuring that three sides have the same sea views that they currently have. This would mean though that the green-facing side would be close to the wall.

A wall of a similar size will also be built from The Boathouse at Preston, running between the Beach Huts that face the sea and those that face the Green, all the way up to the Marine Parade. This means there will be no change to the views from, or of, the huts.

Proposal Of Wall Paignton

Contains OS Data © Crown copyright and database rights 2021


As you can see on these proposals, along both walls there are a number of breaks suggested for access. The idea is for a gate or other type of barricade to be used to close these access gaps off when there is a risk of flooding. For example, at the Redcliffe Hotel end of the Paignton wall an innovative gate solution will be required.

We are proposing that the height of the wall will be at:

  • Paignton Green, South of the Pier – 1 metre
  • Paignton Green, North of the Pier – 1.1 metres
  • Preston Green – 1.5 metres

Next Steps

To build this wall it will cost £3,142,000. The majority of the funding (95%) has been secured from the Environment Agency. We will be contributing £105,000 by using funds raised through Section 106 agreements and a commitment from the 2021/22 Budget .

A planning application will be submitted towards the end of February. This will show the proposed layout, height and the designs that could go on the wall.

We are proposing that there will be patterns on the Preston and Paignton walls that will reflect the local areas. To give you an idea of what designs on the wall look like, below is an image of what Morcambe did when they built their wall:


Construction will start towards the end of the summer months in 2021.

What are your thoughts on our proposals?

As mentioned above, the planning application for the wall will be submitted around the beginning of April 2021. To help us with this we would like to hear your views on a number of questions, these are:

  • Do you think it is important to protect homes and businesses from flooding and to safeguard our critical infrastructure?
  • Do you think it is important for Torbay to accept the offer of government funding to help protect our communities from flooding and to future proof Paignton as a place to live and visit?
  • Do you agree with the location of the proposed breaks in the wall? See images above for these
  • Where do you feel the best locations are for the accessible up and over crossing points?
  • As you will see from the images above, the proposal is for the wall to go around the Victorian Shelters on the Green side, do you agree with this or would you prefer to have them on the seaward side?

Please email your thoughts and suggestions to by Sunday 28 February 2021.

Below are the Architectural drawings of the proposed wall and, in more detail, where the current proposed breaks in the wall are

Coastal Defence Wall Geopark Area Plan
Coastal Defence Wall Paignton Central Plan
Coastal Defence Wall Paignton North Area Plan
Coastal Defence Wall Pier Approach Area Plan
Coastal Defence Wall Paignton South Plan
Coastal Defence Wall Preston Central Plan
Coastal Defence Wall Preston North Plan