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Coastal villages to be protected

PUBLISHED: 10:27 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 10:28 03 July 2010

HOPE may yet spring eternal from the sea of troubles affecting residents with homes in danger of being engulfed by the sea.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council's cabinet agreed on Wednesday to change the status of a second draft Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) to provide better protection for Scratby and Hopton.

HOPE may yet spring eternal from the sea of troubles affecting residents with homes in danger of being engulfed by the sea.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council's cabinet agreed on Wednesday to change the status of a second draft Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) to provide better protection for Scratby and Hopton.

The move comes weeks after Scratby residents were told by Environment Agency officials they had no chance of receiving funding for a £2.8m project to prevent their homes being lost to the sea.

Local representatives of the two villages, including councillor Jim Shrimplin, had called for the SMP for the two areas to be changed from no active intervention to managed retreat, ensuring defences would be maintained and repaired until the sea could no longer be held back.

Mr Shrimplin stressed that protecting the sewers and water supply was a priority.

Tim Howard, the council's head of regeneration and environment, told the meeting the Environment Agency had no objection to the proposed amendments to the SMP.

The move was welcomed by Hopton Parish Council chairman Mike Butcher and Scratby Coastal Erosion Group representative Jim Bratton.

Mr Bratton said: “If the cabinet goes along with the proposed change to managed retreat then from our point of view that would be very good.”

But Mr Butcher said the effects of coastal erosion had already been felt with reduced property prices in the Hopton area, although managed retreat was at least an affordable option.

He said: “It is not an ideal situation, but it is affordable. I think it will go some way to reassuring the people of Hopton. I think the parish council has done as much as it can to put pressure on the borough council to reconsider the no active intervention line.”

The borough council had made £60,000 available in its budget to fund a study looking into extending the rock berm at Scratby which would then be presented to the Environment Agency, but the Agency's officials warned the project was unlikely to receive funding because it was low in the list of priority areas for sea defence spending across the UK.

The proposed SMP changes were due to be ratified at a meeting of the full borough council last night.

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