We are seeking the views of residents living in Paignton and Preston on the proposals for a sea defence scheme that will aim to help protect the town from flooding over the next 50 years.

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

Whenever storms like Storm Emma in 2018 come along, 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.

To build this wall it will cost approximately £3 million, of which the Environment Agency will be contributing 95% of the cost. We will be contributing the remaining funds, which have been raised through Section 106 agreements and a commitment from the 2021/22 Budget.

A planning application for the scheme will be submitted in early Spring. This will show the proposed layout, height and the designs that could go on the wall.

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, says: “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 for Paignton and Preston. At the moment there are a wide range of properties, including homes, businesses and critical infrastructure that are heavily impacted when this part of the Bay are hit by storms. By acting now we can rapidly reduce the risk to those properties and infrastructure.

“Following our investigations and research we are proposing that a 1.1 to 1.5 metre high sea wall is built along the two seafronts. Along both walls there will be a number of breaks for access. A gate or other type of barricade will be used to close these access gaps off when there is a risk of flooding.

“At the moment these are our proposals. Before the planning application is submitted at the end of February though we would like to hear from as many residents and businesses in Paignton and Preston about how they feel a scheme like this is important. We would also like to know your thoughts on the location of the wall and whether the Victorian Shelters should be either on the green side or the seaward side of the sea defence.”

The current proposals are for the sea defence scheme on Paignton Seafront to run from the Paignton Club all the way along the seafront to the Villa Marina. The wall will be positioned away from the current sea wall and will be built in the area where the pavement meets the Green.

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.

For more information about the scheme, why it’s needed, and to see more images and video of the proposals visit: www.torbay.gov.uk/PaigntonSeaWall. Here you will also find a number of questions we would like to hear your views on. To help with the next stage please send in your views and feedback to engagement@torbay.gov.uk by Sunday 28 February 2021.

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