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1,200 tonnes of ‘honeycomb’ blocks give new sense of hope to erosion-hit Hemsby

PUBLISHED: 15:08 27 May 2015 | UPDATED: 15:08 27 May 2015

Secrete have been making concrete blocks to form a sea defence for Hemsby coastline.
Lee Rowland inspecting the blocks.

Secrete have been making concrete blocks to form a sea defence for Hemsby coastline. Lee Rowland inspecting the blocks.

© Archant 2015

A giant wall of honeycomb is being tipped as the innovative answer to erosion problems at Hemsby, bringing a new sense of optimism.

Secrete have been making concrete blocks to form a sea defence for Hemsby coastline.
Ken and Mike Gibbs next to the giant concrete blocks.Secrete have been making concrete blocks to form a sea defence for Hemsby coastline. Ken and Mike Gibbs next to the giant concrete blocks.

More than 150 octagonal concrete blocks are set to be installed on the beach close to The Marrams next month.

The area was one of the worst affected stretches following the storm surge of December 2013 which saw vulnerable homes smashed by the surging power of the sea.

Now two brothers believe they have hit on a unique solution not tried anywhere else in the world that will prevent another catastrophe when the weather is at its worst.

Ken Gibbs, 68, who set up Seacrete with his brother Mike two years ago said the test would come with the first wild storms.

But he said he was confident the blocks would do their job and hopefully lead to more being laid along the 1.5km distance they are looking to defend.

The £110,000 scheme involves installing a barrier comprising 150 blocks, protecting 13 homes.

Worked up by 74-year-old Mike Gibbs without high-tech computer modelling the scheme relies on old-fashioned know-how.

The self-taught engineer said the company had been working flat out at its base in Caister for 12 weeks, manufacturing the blocks using specially designed moulds at a rate of four a day.

He said they had taken a deliberately “back to basics” approach because nothing that had been done so far had made a big impact. Gabions - cages filled with rocks - were too labour intensive, he said and didn’t last long enough.

However their beehive barrier had a life of at least 50 years and would withstand the crashing waves at a fraction of the cost it takes to 
import rock.

They aim to begin laying them on June 1.

See more in this week’s Great Yarmouth Mercury.


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