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Hopes for beach study at Hopton

PUBLISHED: 17:35 23 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:24 30 June 2010

Villagers in Hopton are hoping a beach monitoring study by outer harbour operators EastPort will lead to action over their fast-depleting sands.

Another winter has gnawed even more out of the resort's beach, now reduced to a shingly stretch with exposed sheet piling on the doorstep of popular holiday resorts.

Villagers in Hopton are hoping a beach monitoring study by outer harbour operators EastPort will lead to action over their fast-depleting sands.

Another winter has gnawed even more out of the resort's beach, now reduced to a shingly stretch with exposed sheet piling on the doorstep of popular holiday resorts.

Meanwhile beaches either side are faring differently with Gorleston's getter bigger all the time and Corton's virtually gone, complicating the picture.

Mike Butcher, chairman of Hopton Parish Council, said: “It is very bad. I have never seen it that low. Most of the people who live at the cliff edge are very concerned. It may be a coincidence but it seems to tie in with the building of the outer harbour. A lot of people feel the same way.

“There are surveys going on at the moment to establish whether there is any mileage in that argument.”

Tim Howard, borough council head of regeneration and environment, confirmed monitoring was being carried out by East Port six monthly but that there were many other factors to be taken into account.

“The fact that Hopton beach is diminishing is evident,” he said. “But you cannot say that is down to the outer harbour. Gorleston beach next door is accreting and if you look at the groynes the build up of sand is to the north which suggests sediment is moving south to north.

“The idea of the monitoring is that first of all you establish a baseline to measure what is happening along the coast and then you attribute causes, and there could be any number.

“If beach depletion is seen to be a fault of harbour activity then East Port will deal with it. There is certainly no indication that the depletion of Hopton beach is down to the outer harbour. It is important to check regularly what is happening but it is absolutely essential not to immediately point the finger at one particular cause. One of the other issues at Hopton is that sea defences are good and they will be maintained. Corton is a different matter.”

Brian Hardisty, the last manager at Yarmouth's old power station, who moved into his cliff-top home in Hopton 10 years ago, said he believed the beach had depleted at a faster rate since the outer harbour had been built.

“We did not know anything about erosion until the 2007 and the Shoreline Management Plan. We laughed because we thought the sea would not come anywhere near us. But now they have built the outer harbour it is a different ball game,” he said.

Bernard Harris coast protection manager for Yarmouth borough council, said: “It's going to be a long term monitoring for at least 10 years. We look at long term trends one or two years is too soon to say there has been an impact. The problem has been happening for many years prior to them even starting work on the outer harbour. The beach is going up and down all the time but it is quite low at the moment. We are aware of the problem and keeping an eye on it but we are not overly concerned - at the moment there is no need to panic.”

In November the parish council outlined its fears to invited senior officials and coastal experts. They heard the borough council had received a report from East Port concerning the impact of the outer harbour works on surrounding areas but the report was not in a format acceptable to the borough council and was being re-written. The parish council requested to see the analysis.

Mr Hardisty wants to set up an independent Hopton erosion group. Anyone interested can contact him on 01502 732868.


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