Cash help for communities hit by erosion

EROSION hit communities in north Norfolk could be helped by a share of an �11m government pot to help them adapt to their changing coastline.The district council, whose experts are already in the forefront of formulating national policy, is seeking to table “pathfinder” bids for cash to support innovative projects helping places where sea defences cannot be justified.

EROSION hit communities in north Norfolk could be helped by a share of an �11m government pot to help them adapt to their changing coastline.

The district council, whose experts are already in the forefront of formulating national policy, is seeking to table “pathfinder” bids for cash to support innovative projects helping places where sea defences cannot be justified.

Pathfinder projects are expected to develop imaginative local solutions to issues such as loss of investment and confidence, blight and harm to the environmental.

Measures could include taking a different approach to development control, giving councils the power to buy at-risk properties and lease them back to residents, giving people practical help if they lose their homes, and maintaining infrastructure that is vital for businesses and householders.

Clive Stockton, the council's cabinet member for coastal strategy, said: “This initiative represents a step change in government policy towards coastal management, recognising for the first time the plight of coastal communities and their need for support in confronting the changes which they face.”

The council will also continue to campaign for long-term solutions by responding to an ongoing consultation about its

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coastal change policy.

Mr Stockton, who also sits on the Local Government Association's national coastal special interest group, urged the public to respond, saying: “What happens to our coast, and to the communities on it, affects the livelihood of the whole district.”

The council was working closely with the Happisburgh-based Coastal Concern Action Group. It was anxious to ensure it had the support of coastal communities, and that its projects responded appropriately to local needs. It was also keen to find partners to deliver the projects if the funding bid was successful.

The government consultation runs until September 11. Documents can be found on the government's website: www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/coastal-change/

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