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At least three Hemsby homes expected to fall off cliff-edge by morning

PUBLISHED: 13:28 20 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:01 21 March 2018

A partially-collapsed house sits on the cliff edge at The Marrams in Hemsby. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

A partially-collapsed house sits on the cliff edge at The Marrams in Hemsby. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

At least three of the properties on The Marrams in Hemsby are expected to fall off the cliff-edge by tomorrow morning.

A toilet sits on the beach after falling from a partially-collapsed house on the cliff edge at The Marrams in Hemsby. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.A toilet sits on the beach after falling from a partially-collapsed house on the cliff edge at The Marrams in Hemsby. Picture Joe Giddens/PA Wire.

Strong tides have taken huge chunks from the dunes over recent weeks and now several properties are overhanging the cliff-edge.

Chris Batten, secretary of Hemsby lifeboat, said all 13 properties were at risk, with at least three expected to fall by tomorrow morning.

He said: “There’s about six foot hanging over on one property at this stage, so it’s really getting close to its pivot point.

Coastal erosion is threatening homes on The Marrams in Hemsby which are now on the cliff edge. Picture: Nick ButcherCoastal erosion is threatening homes on The Marrams in Hemsby which are now on the cliff edge. Picture: Nick Butcher

“The danger now, rather than the weather being a contributing factor, is the dunes finding their own level. They have been eaten away on the vertical and it will just drop away naturally.

“We’re going to lose three at least. We expect a few to go today or over night.”

With the properties most at risk cleared of residents and their belongings, the lifeboat’s focus has now shifted to the general public, as the police are yet to cordon off the area.

Coastal erosion is threatening homes on The Marrams in Hemsby which are now on the cliff edge. Picture: Nick ButcherCoastal erosion is threatening homes on The Marrams in Hemsby which are now on the cliff edge. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mr Batten said: “Our focus now is safety. We need to ensure that with the buildings over hanging that the public don’t go near them, that the properties aren’t broken into and that people stay safe.”

Council leader Graham Plant says deploying a wrecking team to demolish the cliff-edge homes is the preferred option, as clearing debris from the beach or the sea is much more problematic and the wreckage could pose a threat to both the public and the environment. However, before implementing the wrecking plan certain obstacles pertaining to permissions and insurances need to be bypassed, and as such, it is unclear whether properties will be demolished before they fall off the cliff.

James Bensly, a councillor who runs a cafe in Hemsby, said there was a “positive” feeling at a parish council meeting held in the village last night.

Coastal erosion is threatening homes on The Marrams in Hemsby which are now on the cliff edge. Picture: Nick ButcherCoastal erosion is threatening homes on The Marrams in Hemsby which are now on the cliff edge. Picture: Nick Butcher

He said: “It’s been amazing to see how people have come together to support each other and while this is of course a sad situation, I think it has brought the best out of people.

“There was a positive feeling in the meeting last night and I can’t emphasise enough that we really, really need local knowledge going forward with the consultations.”

The consultations are to be held in the village on April 11 or 12, and people living in the area are encouraged to come forward and share any evidence they may have of the rate of erosion.

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