Residents clear out erosion threatened homes in Hemsby

Some of the bungalows in Hemsby hang precariously close to the edge of the sandy cliff along the bea

Some of the bungalows in Hemsby hang precariously close to the edge of the sandy cliff along the beach. Byline: Sonya Duncan Copyright: Archant 2018 - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Residents in the Marrams in Hemsby have been clearing their homes as the bad weather continues to batter the dunes.

Several properties are now perilously close to the edge and there are fears that more coastline could be eaten away.

Alan Jones, second coxswain of Hemsby Lifeboat: “Dunes are on a 70 degree angle and when the winds stop blowing it will dry out, and we all know what happens to dry sand.

“This time people have been much more accommodating than last time we were evacuating.

“I think people understand that by not leaving they put themselves at risk and they put us at risk too.”

A large crack has developed along the side of one property and another property has lost a large section of patio and a garden fence.

Police had to break into other unoccupied houses to make sure that nobody was squatting inside.

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Paul Ray has spent the morning clearing his home of his belongings.

Crew from Hemsby Lifeboat assisted by tearing down a section of his garden fence, to help speed up the removal process.

His van was packed with clothes, furniture and kitchen appliances and his Chihuahua Bobby, who was shaking nervously among the clutter.

Mr Ray is already looking online for a new bungalow.

He said: “There used to be dunes and dunes out the back. You could sit there with a beer, it was lovely.

“Just look at it now – going, going, gone. Something should have been done years ago.”

Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, was grateful for the help he had received.

He said: “There was real clarity from the lifeboat guys and they were extremely empathetic towards our plight on the Marrams.

“RHT removals were absolutely amazing, with their help we cleared out three of the properties.

“They did it all for free and have also offered a month’s free storage.”

The resident said he, like many, had pre-empted the problem.

He said: “I wrote a letter to the newspaper after the storms from the Beast from the East about the need of urgency, and I guess that letter has been vindicated now.

“Obviously these homes are at immediate risk but this is also a threat to the entire village and its economy.

“Too many high tides left to come to say what’s going to happen.

“There’s about five foot left behind us but we’ve lost about 10 foot over the last two weeks, the majority of it over this weekend.

“There has been a call to action from the community. The village wants to protect itself and I feel the council could have given the green light to something.

“Some of these properties were worth £100,000 two weeks ago, now they’re worth nothing.”

Peter Aldridge, a retiree from Lowestoft, heard about the erosion on the news and came down to see it first hand.

Mr Aldridge has just bought his first seaside retirement home in Kessingland and he said it was very sad to see the predicament the Marrams residents find themselves in.