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Holiday sunhats and windbreaks lie among debris as Hemsby homes are pulled down

PUBLISHED: 17:13 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:13 02 May 2018

The remains of one of the clifftop chalets at Hemsby. Photo: Liz Coates

The remains of one of the clifftop chalets at Hemsby. Photo: Liz Coates

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Demolition teams have begun the grim task of tearing down condemned clifftop homes in Hemsby.

One of the homes due to be taken down in Hemsby over the next few days. Photo: Liz CoatesOne of the homes due to be taken down in Hemsby over the next few days. Photo: Liz Coates

Demolition teams have begun the grim task of tearing down condemned clifftop homes in Hemsby.

Heavy machinery ripped into the first chalet at around 11.30am quickly reducing it to a pile of split timber and rubble.

Workmen aim to demolish three homes today, another three tomorrow, and the final one on Friday in time for the busy bank holiday.

It comes after strong winds and high tides battered the dunes grabbing a chunk of land and undermining the foundations of seven more homes.

All that remains of one of the homes on Hemsby's clifftop which was knocked down this morning (May 2). Photo: Liz CoatesAll that remains of one of the homes on Hemsby's clifftop which was knocked down this morning (May 2). Photo: Liz Coates

Since the Beast of the East thrashed the coast in February a total of 13 homes will have been lost.

Among the debris today were sun hats and colourful striped wind-breaks - holiday essentials left over from a time when the property’s clifftop location with lovely sea views was its fortune not its fate.

A workman at the scene said the difference since they last knocked down homes just a few weeks ago was stark.

Whereas before they could manoeuvre around plots with their machines, this time there was little space to work.

Demolition work is underway in Hemsby. Photo: Liz CoatesDemolition work is underway in Hemsby. Photo: Liz Coates

Although some of the homes had been emptied some still contained ornaments and personal items.

However the work was going as well as it could with no hitches.

In the cafe, the owner James Bensly said the mood was one of “sadness and disappointment.”

Sharing old photographs and cheery postcards showing an expanse of golden sand he marvelled at the scale of the dune loss, measuring it in telegraph poles and lost homes.

Demolition work is underway again at Hemsby. Photo: Liz CoatesDemolition work is underway again at Hemsby. Photo: Liz Coates

One of the main concerns was the road and what would happen next in terms of a project to protect the village, he said.

“It is very humbling being down here and seeing the community and all the agencies come together,” he said.

“We need the beach for the holiday businesses. People will go to some other holiday places if we have not got one.

“But with the sunlight and a nice tide rippling in the background it’s brilliant.”

The borough council has confirmed Defra will fund the demolition work.

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said: “It is heartbreaking to see the situation in Hemsby, as once again the weather and tides damage and destroy homes along the coast.

“I am in constant contact with the borough councillors, who are keeping me fully appraised of the situation, and will visit this week to see what is needed on the ground.

“Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the emergency services and the local community all work excellently together at times like this to ensure that people are kept safe and have shelter, and I would like to thank everyone involved for their hard work.

“It is now vital that we complete the coastline review that the Environment Agency have agreed to look at the best options, and to agree a way forward for a solution.”

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