This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

Three homes close to the cliff edge in Norfolk are due to be demolished as high tides cut into sandy cliffs.

A number of residents have left their wooden properties in The Marrams in Hemsby, some of which are within 1m (3.2ft) of the edge and are at risk of collapse.

Several outbuildings have already succumbed as high tide hit at about 21:00 GMT on Friday.

It is understood the homes are to be demolished from 11:00.

Mary Withey

Jon Ironmonger/BBC

A council building control surveyor is currently assessing the weather conditions and if the properties are ready to be demolished, while all the homeowners have returned to pack up any last bits.

One of them, Mary Withey, who has lived in her house for four years, said she and her partner “had got what we can”.

“I’m not OK with it, it’s been my home, I don’t want to move… it’s very sad,” she said.

“When I first heard [it would be demolished] I was in shock and today I’ve just been tearful, it’s horrible.”


Andrew Turner/BBC

Sue, whose home is also one of those to be demolished, said she wished more could have been done to save her home of three years.

She said she knew she would lose the property “eventually” but did not expect it to happen “this quick”.

“We’re now 3 foot from the edge, this time last week there was 15 or 20 feet,” she said.

Sue's home on the cliff edge

Andrew Turner/BBC

Sue said she had been told she would have to get planning permission for her home to be moved back from the cliff edge but there was not enough time.

“It’s really annoying, it’s all your hopes and dreams collapsed into nothingness,” she said.

Properties on the eroded dunes at Hemsby on the north side of the gap

Martin Barber/BBC

A council building control surveyor is assessing the weather conditions and if three properties are ready to be demolished

Jon Ironmonger/BBC

The only access road to properties on the Marrams has also been cordoned off and is expected to collapse. As the sea rose on Friday, a shed and a playhouse toppled over the cliff.

Hemsby Independent Lifeboat crew rescued two chickens that were still in the shed which they said “put a smile on everyone’s face”.

Chicken rescue at Hemsby

Jon Ironmonger/BBC

Properties on the eroded dunes at Hemsby on the north side of the gap

Martin Barber/BBC

Daniel Hurd, coxswain, with the lifeboat crew said it had been a “long old night”.

The Highways Agency got the road blocked off on Friday evening and BT responded to a telegraph pole that was tilting on the edge.

“Luckily we managed to get that on to the beach and not risk public safety by it falling on top of them,” he said.

Daniel Hurd, coxswain, with the Hemsby lifeboat crew

Martin Barber/BBC

He added that the “wind has dropped off and the sea is currently flat as a pancake” and that the crew would now “see where today takes us”.

“We can only wish for this weather and the sea state over the weekend,” he said. “If we’d had that [before] we wouldn’t have had any damage… but it’s going to happen [eventually] and we just need to get something in place to try to stop it eroding away the face of the dunes constantly.

“My concern now is that if [the erosion] gets to the car parks, we possibly may have to shut the doors on the lifeboat station and then you won’t have sea cover off Hemsby at all… and that is serious.”

Hemsby, south side of gap, shows property of Lance Martin on the edge of the dunes

Martin Barber/BBC

The village, near Great Yarmouth, is home to about 3,000 people and was once home to a Pontins holiday camp.

This week’s events have been the culmination of punishing weather conditions and high tides.

Fire crews knocked on doors on Friday and urged anybody still in the affected properties to leave their homes.

On Friday, Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s chief executive, Sheila Oxtoby, said it was looking to bring some rock on to the beach to protect the road access to a number of other properties as a “temporary solution”.

It is understood 19,000 tonnes of granite are due to arrive on Wednesday.

Ms Oxtoby said: “At the same time as dealing with the immediate issue, we’re also looking at how we can use our emergency powers to provide a temporary rock berm solution to give us more time for the main scheme.”

Exposed water main pipe at Hemsby

Jon Ironmonger/BBC

Mr Hurd, however, said the current situation was “heart-breaking” and could have been resolved earlier.

He said: “I just think it’s absolutely ridiculous, this has been an emergency for years and it’s taken this weekend for them to see it’s an emergency to then get a rock berm put on the beach.”

Borough councillor, James Bensley, said he could understand that people were frustrated but there had been “so much bureaucracy”.

“It’s a real minefield of making sure that what local government and the authorities do is the correct line of procedure and I can totally understand people’s frustrations,” he said.

Borough councillor for Hemsby, James Bensley,

Martin Barber/BBC

“We [also] have to make sure it works, we have to make sure it’s cost affordable and doesn’t affect further south down the coast.

“I know the process and the time that has been taken is exhausting and I can fully appreciate and understand that but we have to do it correctly and with the tools that we have got and through the right channels.”

Map showing Happisburgh, Hemsby and Great Yarmouth

Last year, a 1.3km (0.8 mile) rock berm at the base of the cliff was approved in principle, but the council funding for the £15m scheme was “challenging to obtain”, with just £2.5m available from the government.

This is not the first time homes in Hembsy have become casualties to the sea.

Seven bungalows along The Marrams had to be demolished when sandy cliffs washed away in March 2018 and, in December 2013, “the worst storm surge in 60 years”, destroyed seven homes.

presentational grey line

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]

Related Topics

Related Internet Links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.

Source: BBC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP Radio
WP Radio