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Hemsby man’s plan to lift entire home and move it away from cliff edge

PUBLISHED: 17:25 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 18:07 28 March 2018

Lance Martin outside his home in Hemsby where the ever-retreating dunes are claiming more homes. Photo: Liz Coates

Lance Martin outside his home in Hemsby where the ever-retreating dunes are claiming more homes. Photo: Liz Coates

Archant

Just a few doors down clanking machines are ripping up homes hanging precariously over the cliff edge.

Lance Martin plans to move his home forward by 25m to protect it from falling down the cliff. Photo: Liz CoatesLance Martin plans to move his home forward by 25m to protect it from falling down the cliff. Photo: Liz Coates

Households along The Marrams in Hemsby have been moving out and in some cases simply pruning the back off their homes in a bid to buy more time.

But an army veteran has come up with his own plan to protect his clifftop home - jacking it up and sliding it some 25m forward towards the road.

Having only moved in in November Lance Martin says he wont give up easily on his quiet corner of the world - perfect for birdwatching and seeing the sun rise over the sea.

The 60-year-old gave up his job to follow his dream and thought the risk to his property was low.

Lance Martin lost 20m of garden in the storms. His decking is now on the shoreline below. Photo: Liz CoatesLance Martin lost 20m of garden in the storms. His decking is now on the shoreline below. Photo: Liz Coates

An environmental survey flagged up no concerns.

And until the storms he had 20m of garden and decking to take in glorious views and has yet to enjoy the peaceful pleasure of summer in his new home.

Debris is still being cleared and homes are only just being reconnected to the mains as Mr Martin puts his plan into action.

“You cannot legislate for this kind of storm and devastation,” he said.

“I resigned from my job and retired, which felt fantastic.

“For the first three weeks I hardly slept because I could feel the reverberations from the waves then I got used to it and it lulled me to sleep.

“But that night it was crashing and banging the winds were howling and things were blowing away.

“I don’t want this place demolished and I have seen programmes on TV where they pick up buildings and move them.

“I spoke to a couple of people and there is a chap here who used to do it for a living. He can move a house without cracking a window pane. It is possible to do.”

Mr Martin, a grandfather, has already starting clearing away sheds and fencing to make way for the move but may install a caravan first so he can live in that while he renovates the bungalow, but has planning hurdles to clear.

“This is my dream home,” he said. “This is me for life. If I can move it forward I could get another 20 years here.”

He added there was local concern about another study that was being talked about.

“The big feeling is that sea defences should have been put in after the tidal surge,” he said.

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