Filthy mess

Joseph Bulmer

SIR - I would like to know why the local public are not asking some very strongly worded questions about the filthy, stinking mess that has been allowed to happen at Southcott Marsh, East-the-Water.

The salt water has ruined valuable grazing land for at least four landowners. It has killed all the existing wildlife habitat including bushes and trees. It has also ruined boundary fences.

The obvious problem was the sluice gate at the end of Ethelwynne Brown Close. A few weeks ago, a Devon County Council spokesperson stated that they were working “very hard” to solve the problem. What a load of codswallop!

A small amount of common sense would have said replace the sluice gate with a similar one to the original which worked very well for a good number of years.

The replacement sluice gate has three adjustable slots which are open. These slots allow salt water to flow upstream, which continues to flood the land.

It has been mooted in certain areas that some salt water has to be allowed through. This is incorrect.

When the Tarka Trail belonged to the railway, the sluice gate was installed for obvious reasons - ie to keep the salt water out on a rising tide and let fresh water out on an ebb tide.

This is a very simple problem to solve - Close the slots.

There is no need for anyone to work “very hard at Devon County Council or at any of the associated quangos.

They have a lot to answer for with regard to Southcott Marsh and in my opinion they are also about to ruin Northam Burrows by letting the sea through.

I would welcome a constructive reply from those responsible for letting this sorry mess happen. What a disgraceful sight Southcott Marsh presents at the entrance to Bideford. What must visitors arriving in Bideford think?

Frank Heard,