Fears raised over coastal plans

PUBLISHED: 16:11 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:06 30 June 2010

Abandoning an established holiday hub like Hemsby to the waves will have a catastrophic effect on tourism and will hit hard in Great Yarmouth, it was claimed this week.

Abandoning an established holiday hub like Hemsby to the waves will have a catastrophic effect on tourism and will hit hard in Great Yarmouth, it was claimed this week.

With 20,000 bed spaces at risk Lyndon Bevan, chairman of the Hemsby Coastal Group, said the revised Shoreline Management Plan's suggestion that Hemsby went undefended “beggared belief.”

Hemsby is the latest in a string of coastal villages to come out against the controversial blueprint which they say is unjustifiable and should be opposed.

Mr Bevan said the human and social costs were too high and would ripple through the whole of the borough, damaging tourism related income. But the document had not looked at the full picture and was based on theoretical erosion rates that might not match reality which could totally change the picture.

Social justice he added was the other sticking point with the Government offering a “derisory” £4000 to £6000 towards the costs of demolishing your own property. Even then there was no guarantee of getting on the housing list, he added.

“We have more holiday beds than Great Yarmouth so where does that leave them?” he said, adding: “Hemsby puts so much into the economy. We have 20,000 bed spaces, how are they going to replace them? I just cannot believe it.

“The social justice issue is our main concern. They are offering a derisory amount - if the money is available. And they say they might put you on the housing list. Does that sound like social justice? Why should people in Yarmouth have protection and people in Hemsby not?

“The predictions could be totally wrong. We built the Viking festival on the advice of fishermen where the highest tide had been all year and with those high winds blew half of it away. If the fisherman cannot be sure then how can anyone else?

Hemsby Coastal Group discussed the SMP at a meeting on Tuesday June 15 after an official drop-in session at Great Yarmouth Town Hall which they say was poorly advertised saw few visitors. Representatives from Hopton, Scratby, Caister and Winterton were present.

A spokesman for the Hemsby group described the SMP as “an engineers report” that lacked compassion. Hemsby is calling on everyone - especially those in properties most at risk - to oppose the plan and back its call for an extended rock berm to Winterton, protecting Hemsby and the SSSI designated dunes.

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