Hopton's battle to protect beach

CAMPAIGNERS are making waves in their battle to protect Hopton's seaside community from erosion.Clifftop resident Brian Hardisty says officials have played down the effect of the outer harbour on the shrinking sands and is seeking answers, possibly by making a Freedom of Information request to see “secret” documents.

CAMPAIGNERS are making waves in their battle to protect Hopton's seaside community from erosion.

Clifftop resident Brian Hardisty says officials have played down the effect of the outer harbour on the shrinking sands and is seeking answers, possibly by making a Freedom of Information request to see “secret” documents.

Mr Hardisty wants to set up an independent coastal erosion group to challenge the Shoreline Management Plan which is being revised this year.

So far enough people have come forward to form a committee, but as word was spreading more village folk were becoming concerned, he said.

On Saturday Great Yarmouth MP Tony Wright visited Hopton beach to see for himself the scale of depletion and also to discuss erosion problems with the clifftop residents.

Mr Wright described as an “eye-opener” his visit to the shingly stretch, adding: “I knew there were some difficulties down there but quite clearly something needs to be done about it. I will be contacting various agencies.

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“They claim it's happened since the harbour has been built and if that is the case we need to find a solution and get the beach back again.

“The most important thing is to accept that there is a problem and that something needs to be done about it.”

Mr Wright added that he hoped the government-funded Pathfinder Project - looking for a plan B for coastal erosion - would have something useful to say.

Former power station manager Mr Hardisty, said: “People are now starting to come along to parish council meetings worried about coastal erosion. It will take a while - people who live further back think it is not going to bother them but some are starting to worry.”

He said he aimed to leaflet all 80 clifftop home-owners in due course. The fledgling Hopton group has also won the support of veteran coastal campaigner Malcolm Kerby, who has taken local erosion issues to the heart of Westminster.