A planning application for the Lower Otter Restoration Project has been submitted to East Devon District Council.
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Planning application -
The Scheme will:
Create 28ha of mudflats and 27ha of transitional marsh and saltmarsh;
Create a new main creek channel 2km in length and associated outer creek channels (total of 6km in length) through the historic floodplain. Some outer secondary creeks will also include borrow pits and/or scrapes. The main creek will gradually reduce in width from 50m at the south breach to 5m at its furthest point in Little Marsh;
Create a 200m wide breach in Little Bank and provide an improved lower level path surface across the breach;
Create a 170m breach in Big Bank and provide an improved lower level path surface across the breach;
Demolish and remove the existing Budleigh Brook concrete aqueduct section and create a realigned more natural meandering channel through Little Marsh, approx. 530m in length;
Maintain a flow through the Trunk Drain to the south of South Farm Road on a falling tide;
Create a new raised South Farm Road highway (approx. 2.5m above the existing road level), with a 25m wide embankment footprint, using site won excavated material and include a new 30m span highway bridge over the new creek channel. Rip rap stone protection will be installed beneath the bridge. The road along the existing alignment will be removed except the section which enables access to South Farm Cottages. This will protect South Farm Road from regular flooding which cuts off the South Farm community;
Remove a small section of the existing landfill site in the far west corner, to allow construction of the new South Farm Road highway bridge. The remaining areas of the landfill site will receive additional fill material at varying depths (site won), to increase ground cover and further protect existing material within. The outer edges will have improved erosion protection measures installed. A mosaic of new woodland/grassland will be planted on top. This is important as the site is currently poorly capped and unprotected;
Create a 70m wide breach through the River Otter estuary embankment (near Lime Kiln car park). The breach will have rip rap stone erosion protection installed. A short section of the existing estuary will be excavated to transition into the new breach. The existing footpath will be maintained over the breach with a new 70m span, 2.5m wide footbridge;
Install new public information and warning signage at the Shingle Bar and Spit area; to inform of likely changing environment and risks. The existing lower path along the north edge of the Shingle Bar will be removed;
Remove large groups of existing trees/woodland, scattered trees and long lengths of hedgerow in the floodplain area, and cut to ground level some areas of trees/vegetation at the outer edges of the floodplain; to enable construction of scheme elements or to mitigate disturbance to protected species before future tidal inundation;
Plant new trees and hedgerows to the north of the site, areas outside of the zone of tidal inundation and on the historic landfill site area. These will replace those lost by the scheme. There will be improvements to existing hedgerows and infilling of gaps. Some areas of new vegetation will be planted for screening purposes for the new habitat areas;
Install seven new viewing areas at various locations across the scheme to enrich visitor experience of the enhanced wildlife reserve resulting from the Scheme. One of these will involve replacing an existing platform along the SWCP;
Create two new footpath sections from the new South Farm Road to the viewing area on the southern tip of the landfill site. These will act as a diversion of existing defunct footpath section in the lower floodplain which will become tidally inundated in the future;
Create up to three high tide bird islands within the tidal inundation area, a positive improvement for bird life;
Raise the existing footpath section between South Farm Road and Big Bank, on the western side of the floodplain, and improve the surfacing. Additionally, two short sections will be raised to a higher level, to provide safe areas during tidal inundation of the path for the public during emergencies;
Create a variety of landscape features in the scheme area, such as information panels, sections of fencing and water filled ditches near paths to deter dogs and people;
Divert the existing overhead power lines, which run west to east across the landfill site, underground through the new South Farm Road highway embankment, which will be a positive gain for the landscape and the AONB. These works will be in partnership with Western Power Distribution and the AONB;
Create a new car park area at the south western end of the new South Farm Road, including new screening vegetation and a timber viewing structure, removing informal parking in the existing SSSI which is damaging to the site.
The existing beach outfall culvert structure will remain. Its future operation and maintenance strategy will be monitored and reviewed in the next project phase.
Associated works that are not part of this planning application are:
The overhead power line that lies along the western boundary of the site, south of South Farm Road, will be diverted underground in a raised embankment on the existing adjacent footpath. This is planned to be carried out by the upcoming FAB-
Existing South West Water CSO pipe that crosses the estuary mouth will be relocated to the north and deeper under the estuary by South West Water (separate planning application).
Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club will be located from its current location to the north of Lime Kiln Car Park to a new site to the north of South Farm Road.