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'People are still happy to buy' - Warnings about future climate threats fail to deter seaside house-hunters

PUBLISHED: 13:26 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:11 09 May 2019

North Norfolk District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council have urged utility companies to help them tackle the 'ever-increasing burden' of coastal erosion. Pictured - Clifftop homes at risk on the Hemsby Coastline.
Picture: Denise Bradley

North Norfolk District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council have urged utility companies to help them tackle the 'ever-increasing burden' of coastal erosion. Pictured - Clifftop homes at risk on the Hemsby Coastline. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant

The scale of the flooding threat has not been sufficient to put people off buying near the coast or to persuade all housebuilders to incorporate the risk into their designs, according to a Great Yarmouth estate agent.

North Norfolk District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council have urged utility companies to help them tackle the 'ever-increasing burden' of coastal erosion. Pictured - Teams clearing the debris from clifftop homes falling at Hemsby. Picture: Denise BradleyNorth Norfolk District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council have urged utility companies to help them tackle the 'ever-increasing burden' of coastal erosion. Pictured - Teams clearing the debris from clifftop homes falling at Hemsby. Picture: Denise Bradley

Charles Bycroft said he had not come across a single person who was selling up to move out of harm's way, although there had been some sales that had fallen through because buyers had found out there was a risk.

He said: "The coast is not well protected but a lot of people are still happy to buy. I do not think I have had experience of anybody moving away from what is a flood area although I have had people not buying a property because the area has been designated an area of flood risk, so it has affected the market a bit."

He said homes in Caister behind Tesco had the main living accommodation upstairs and that flats in Riverside Road, Gorleston, were also going up with an eye on the nearby waterway.

But the new Persimmon homes at Beauchamp Grange in Caister were "ordinary" houses.

A picture of Hemsby beach taken from a drone on Janaury 20 this year shows the extent of coastal erosion there.A picture of Hemsby beach taken from a drone on Janaury 20 this year shows the extent of coastal erosion there.

"People are already beginning to take the view that if there is a risk we will build at bit differently," he said.

"But the homes being built near The Grange at Caister are ordinary homes.

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"Either they are not planning for it or they do not think it will happen."

An Environment Agency draft document published today, May 9, is calling for new resilient communities with houses built in better places or in a better way, helping them to recover more easily if water does get in.

Suggestions include flood doors, hard floors and higher electrics.

The report estimates that double the amount of homes will be built on flood plains in the next few decades.

Some £1bn will need to be spent every year protecting communities, but some will have to be abandoned or moved altogether in the face of rising sea levels, hotter summers and wetter winters.

The report notes flood defences had "come a long way" since the 1953 floods when numerous homes were inundated and 300 lives were lost along the East Coast.

At the time parts of Cobholm and Southtown were "red-lined" by lenders effectively killing the housing market, Mr Bycroft said.

In 2013 a stronger surge passed without loss of life.

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