Sea defence schemes back on drawing board

Torbay Weekly

Plans to protect Paignton and Preston seafront areas with flood defence schemes are back on the table.

Torbay Council has started another round of public consultation after a wave of protests to earlier proposals/

The council says: "We paused the proposed sea defence scheme last year following feedback that the public wanted to be more involved in how the scheme will look, work and benefit  residents."

The local authority has ow commissioned independent design consultancy LDA Design to carry out the next steps.

The council says: "LDA Design takes a holistic, inclusive approach to flood defence using the need to improve the infrastructure. They also reinvigorate places for residents and visitors by improving accessibility and active travel options. Their designs create safer, welcoming and more playful, nature-rich landscapes. Some of LDA’s recent transformational seafront projects include Littlehampton in West Sussex, Blackpool, Southsea, and Mumbles in Swansea Bay."

Paignton is under threat from rising sea levels. LDA Design will explore the type of sea defences that are right to protect the town from flooding. LDA will be engaging with residents and will be producing proposals and options as to how to improve the open spaces around both seafronts.

A range of workshops and focus groups are taking place including:

  • An online workshop on Zoom on Thursday 10 March at 6 pm.
  • A walk and talk led by LDA Design on Paignton and Preston seafront on Saturday March 12, from 9:30am to 11am. Meet by the Geoplay Park.
  • An online presentation open until midnight on Sunday March 20.
  • Paper copies of the consultation will be available in Paignton Library.

Mike Morey, cabinet member for infrastructure, environment and culture, said: “Last year we listened to the feedback and put a stop to our original plans for the sea defence scheme. I am now glad to say that we have LDA Design on board. They will work with our residents and us to develop a once in a lifetime plan to improve these seafronts and protect Paignton.“

Sophie Thompson, a director at LDA Design, said: “The public have a real opportunity to decide what their future protected seafront will look like. These views will shape our designs, so we want to hear from as many people as possible.

“The work that needs to go ahead is critical to reducing flood risk and protecting the coastline, homes and businesses, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to reinvigorate Paignton and Preston’s shared open spaces so that more people can enjoy them."