Police cordon at cafe and beach ahead of demolition

The Dunes cafe at Winterton

A police cordon has been put up around the Dunes Cafe at Winterton which is due to be demolished on Friday December 4. Its owners battled long and hard to save it from the sea, but could no longer hold off the forces of nature. - Credit: Liz Coates

A clifftop cafe at the forefront of Norfolk's bitter battle with erosion has been sealed off by police.

Demolition teams are due to move in early on Friday morning (December 4) to tear down the popular Dunes Cafe at Winterton after it was brought to the brink of oblivion by surging seas on Monday.

Access to the beach has also been cordoned off as machinery moves in to carry out the work.

Police tape at the beach entrance in Winterton

Access to the beach at Winterton, close to the condemned Dunes Cafe, has been cordoned of by police. - Credit: Liz Coates

Landowner Jan Hewitt confirmed the work was going ahead after high tides and strong winds combined with lethal force to strip away all but a few feet of land at the back of the building.

The stretch of coast at the end of Beach Road has suffered significant damage already this winter, with a chunk of the car park also taken in the storms.

On Thursday telecoms engineers were on site dismantling equipment including a pole that was only moved away from the cliff edge a year ago.

The Dunes cafe at Winterton

Engineers work to dismantle telecoms equipment at the Dunes Cafe, Winterton, which has been condemned after the coast took a battering on Monday. - Credit: Liz Coates

Permission  exists for a mobile unit at the site, and it is understood some kind of temporary catering offer will spring up once the old building has been taken down.

The demolition marks the end of an era for dog walkers and fun-seekers who regularly stopped at the cafe all year round.

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In previous years Hemsby has borne the brunt of wild weather with some 13 chalets demolished two years ago.

But at Winterton, while the Ness has grown, it has been at the cost of the area outside the cafe.

A spokesperson from the Environment Agency said it was committed to supporting the community.

"We have been working closely with the operational leads for this part of the coast, Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Coastal Partnership East, who are providing support to the landowner and looking at options for relocation," he said.

The Dunes Cafe at Winterton

The Dunes Cafe just before the bad weather hit on Monday. The area had already been badly damaged this year making it more vulnerable to collapse. - Credit: Simon Carter

Great Yarmouth Borough Council  said the café demolition was private works, with the council offering assistance and advice as necessary.   

Meanwhile a coastal management study was helping agencies to understand what was happening and how best to deal with it.

A statement said: “The area between Great Yarmouth and Winterton is a very dynamic area of coastline, subject to complex coastal and environmental processes.

"The study has provided a valuable basis and insight for progressing further work at Hemsby, where a rock berm scheme is the preferred option.

"The study also informs ongoing work around managing ongoing coastal change at Winterton and Hemsby.

"The council with its Coastal Partnership East team are liaising with Natural England and private landowners.”

Winterton in 1999

The cafe and dunes at Winterton pictured from space in 1999 when some 50m of land separated the cafe from the beach. Tomorrow (December 4) it is being pulled down as it teeters on the edge of the sandy cliffs, - Credit: Google Earth