Labour calls for delay to Paignton and Preston sea wall.
Torbay Labour Party is calling for wider consultation on the proposal to build a high wall along two of our most used beaches.
Andy Symons, Labour’s candidate in the Clifton with Maidenway by-election said, “I am extremely concerned that Lib Dem Torbay Council is planning to build a sea wall running the full length of Paignton and Preston seafront. Not part of the seafront, all of it.”
The wall will have a minimum height of 1.1m on Paignton Beach and will be 1.5 metres (5ft) high at Preston.
The wall will block views of the sea from the many family-run hotels and B&Bs. It will cause massive disruption to the businesses that operate on the front, including the GeoPark cafe, and the beach hut users at Preston will see the wall go right through the middle of the huts.”
Andy added, “To get an idea of what it will be like, go and have a look at the protest wall that’s been put up between the GeoPark café and the Pier. Suddenly, my Lib Dem opponent’s obsession with the Steam Railway and her manufactured outrage at its closure (that will never happen), makes perfect sense. Distract the voters from a genuine outrage that her party are hoping to sneak through unnoticed.”
Whilst the Council is now consulting on the design of the wall, very few of the residents in Clifton with Maidenway are aware of the plans. They were shocked to hear that Preston beach would have a five-foot wall build between Preston green and the beach.
There was also considerable alarm that a slightly lower wall was to be built on Paignton Beach separating the green, including the GeoPark from the beach. The position of the park is something that makes the educational play area unique. There was also considerable concern about the impact on seafront businesses.
Businesses and members of the public told us they were alarmed about the impact on the area and felt the sea wall will change the whole nature of the two resorts.
Whilst Torbay Labour shares the Council’s concerns about the impact of climate change and the potential for serious flooding along this part of our coast, major projects like this must have the full support of local people.
With building work due to start in the autumn of 2021, Torbay Labour Party are calling on the Council to delay their plans to allow for a meaningful period of awareness-raising and consultation to take place.
Responding to concerns from the public, Andy Symons, said, “I am staggered that a proposal of this kind can be going ahead when there is so little awareness of these radical proposals. Dealing with climate change is always going to raise controversial issues and it is for this reason that ensuring people know about what is being proposed and that they have a real chance to have their say is so important. Being asked about the design work which will go on the wall came as a real shock to a lot of residents who did not even know a wall was to be built.”
Torbay Labour recognises the importance of preparing for the impact of climate change but said, “A delay to allow awareness-raising and full consultation to take place would be time well spent. Our coastline is what has brought many people to the Bay as tourists and as residents. It is only right that something which will radically change the look of Paignton and Preston has the full backing of businesses and the public before it goes ahead.”