Watcombe Beach has officially reopened to the public following repair work and the creation of a new access point.
Located on the edge of Torquay, it was closed by Torbay Council in February 2020 after storms and heavy rain destroyed much of the footpath and steps leading to the beach, making it difficult to access the beach safely.
Groundwork South Trust, Watcombe ward councillors, SWISCo and council staff worked in partnership to carry out the necessary remedial works, which included diverting problem water flows that were causing damage to the existing footpath.
Led by the charity Groundwork South Trust, labor intensive work was carried out to remove the damaged concrete steps and replace them with new steps made from locally sourced logs.
The repair works were partly funded by Torbay Council. The project also received £5,080 from the UK Government through the UK Prosperity Shared Fund, of which Torbay has received a total of £1,764,043 to invest in local projects over three years.
The fund is a central pillar of the UK governments high-level agenda and its main aim is to build pride in the country and increase life chances across the UK. TDA is managing the Torbays UKSPF Investment Plan on behalf of Torbay Council, overseeing the procurement, distribution of funds and managing contracts for those organizations delivering the project.
Councilor Chris Lewis, Cabinet Member for Local Services and Economic Growth for Torbay Council, said: We were delighted that people can enjoy Watcombe Beach again, especially with the start of the summer school holidays. Torbay boasts 22 miles of stunning coastline and over 20 secluded beaches and coves. It’s one of the many reasons why the English Riviera is such a great place to live and why thousands of tourists visit the area every year. As a Council, we are committed to protecting these beautiful natural places and making them as accessible and inclusive as possible so that everyone can experience them.
Davina Luther, Engagement Manager at Groundwork South, said: ”Two separate pieces of work have been undertaken to divert the flow to prevent damage to the stairwell. This work was stress tested last winter and has now allowed the pitch to be rebuilt. Groundwork South Trust and SWISCo have worked closely over the previous two years to achieve this. Approximately 30,000 was spent during this period to divert the stream. The local community and nearby neighborhood councilors have helped monitor the effectiveness of these works once they are implemented. This is a great example of how local government, community and environmental charities can work together to protect local treasures and I look forward to seeing Torbay families, school groups and scouts come in and enjoy this beautiful beach.”
The beach officially reopened on Friday 21 July 2023.
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