Work to protect clifftop home halted by council
- Credit: Liz Coates
A homeowner's bid to protect his home from erosion has been halted by council officials.
Work started yesterday (Tuesday, September 28) to install some 80 blocks at the base of the sandy dunes at Hemsby.
The 2.2 tonne interlocking concrete blocks were due to arrive in 12 lorry loads with engineers preparing to spend two weeks on the sands putting them in position.
Instead, they have been handed a "cease and desist" order by Great Yarmouth Borough Council while it makes sure all the proper permissions are in place.
Phil Woolston, who is overseeing the operation, said his client had been working on the project for at least eight months and liaising with the authorities including the landowner The Watling Trust, and coastal management bodies.
The order was imposed at around 4pm on Tuesday - too late to divert some lorries already scheduled to leave today at 2am.
With half the blocks already on the beach a decision was made to use emergency powers to sit them at the foot of the dune to protect a septic tank which was vulnerable to collapse.
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Under the arrangements Mr Woolston said it was understood his client could use planning permission already obtained for the hexagonal blocks to extend his scheme along the stretch at the base of The Marrams.
The DIY defences are being paid for privately, the interruption likely to cost thousands, Mr Woolston added.
He said the council had been notified the works were taking place.
Under the scheme one line of rocks will be buried, with another placed on top to break the force of the sea.
Further along homeowner Lance Martin has also made efforts to protect his clifftop home, first pulling it back from the edge after surging seas tore a chunk of land away, and later installing his own rock barrier.
Hemsby is on the frontline in the battle against erosion and is hoping to secure funding for a rock-berm to bring temporary relief.
James Bensly, borough councillor for Hemsby, said he hoped the issue could be sorted quickly so work could resume.
"I encourage anyone to look after their own home and try and defend it like Lance has done, but we just have to make sure we have all the paperwork and ensure it does not have a negative effect anywhere else.
"I really hope this is just a pause and hopefully they can proceed as soon as possible."
In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “The council served a Temporary Stop Notice, which prohibits any works being continued for 28 days, to allow our planning team time to assess the proposed works and ensure all the appropriate processes and agreements are in place.
“We are in communication with the person responsible for the works and hope to have the matter resolved soon.”