Sidmouth rocks red paint job branded 'vandalism'

Cliffs at Sidmouth
Image caption The cliffs have been dyed red by the council

Sightseers and geologists have slammed a council for painting historic sandstone cliffs in a "weird" red.

Sidmouth rocks are a famous feature of the Devon coast, noted for their natural earthy colouring.

But the decision to paint a section in the "wrong red" during recent stabilisation work has left experts and tourists bemused.

A councillor said reinforcing concrete had been dyed to "help it blend in with the surrounding stone".

During the works, completed at the end of April, large bolts set in concrete were installed into the cliff to stabilise a large piece of rock.

The work was completed at the end of April.


Geologist Dr Alasdair Bruce said he could only describe East Devon District Council's effort as "corporate vandalism"

"They have sprayed most of the cliff. It's almost like an Eric Sykes film," he said.

"I've seen councils do some strange things with cliffs but this clanger really is at the top of the pile."

Image caption The work was carried out to stabilise the cliffs at Sidmouth.

The cliffs at Sidmouth are thought to date back about 220 million years to the Triassic period, which came before the Jurassic period.

Bill Shaw, a metal sculptor from Bideford on holiday with his wife, Peach, said: "It's a bit weird. It just looks fake.

"It's the wrong red as well, it should be more of a terracotta colour or would be better just left as it was."

Image caption Bill Shaw said the red paint looked 'weird' and 'fake'.

Geoff Jung, the council's portfolio holder for the environment, said: "The concrete was dyed to help it blend in with the surrounding stone as opposed to leaving it as a plain concrete finish."

He said the stabilisation work allowed the council to keep the walkway under the cliffs open and the public safe.

Image copyright Jason McDonald
Image caption This picture taken by Jason McDonald in 2013 shows the typical sandstone colour of the cliffs.

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