Hemsby beach homes to be demolished within days: several homes on the dunes were damaged during the December storm

These four homes on the Marrams in Hemsby, damaged during the surge tide on December 5, will be demo

These four homes on the Marrams in Hemsby, damaged during the surge tide on December 5, will be demolished before Christmas. Picture by Nick Butcher. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Homes teetering on the edge of Hemsby dunes will be demolished before Christmas.

It is not known exactly how much it will cost Great Yarmouth Borough Council to knock down four homes on The Marrams that were damaged during December 5's disastrous tidal surge, but it is hoped the cash will come from the Environment Agency's Coastal Erosion Assistance Grant.

Several homes were damaged during the night of the storm – one was completely destroyed, two fell down the cliff face after 30ft of dune was stripped away, and two more were seriously undermined.

The four bungalows now earmarked for demolition - including the home of Steve and Jacquie Connelly whose heartbreaking story was told around the world in the wake of the high tide - are private properties.

The borough council has, however, agreed to carry out demolition work after asbestos was found inside one of the homes.

A spokesman said: 'The borough council intends to carry out the demolition on behalf of the residents as asbestos is visible in one of the properties, which could pose a health risk if not removed and disposed of in a controlled and approved fashion.

'The other properties are in too dangerous positions, at current, for thorough investigation to be carried out, but may also contain asbestos.

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'The borough council has contacted residents to agree the demolition works, which will be undertaken under the supervision of a specialist asbestos removal firm.'

While some of the work will be carried out with a long-range digger, most will be done by hand.

'The cost of demolition cannot be assessed until all properties have been thoroughly investigated. Initially, the borough council will pay for the demolition, with the intention of recovering the costs through Government schemes.

'One such source is the Environment Agency's Coastal Erosion Assistance Grant, which supports local authorities in helping those at risk of losing a home to coastal erosion.

'The grant, fixed at £6,000 per household and administered by the council, is primarily designed to help with the costs of demolition. And if the clear-up costs exceed £6,000 there is the possibility to secure extra funding under the scheme.'

Last week, residents of Hemsby asked prime minister David Cameron to find government funding for permanent defences in Hemsby.