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Options for sea defences to save Hemsby whittled down to a front runner

PUBLISHED: 13:31 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:32 26 March 2019

The erosion threat continues to lap homes in The Marrams. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The erosion threat continues to lap homes in The Marrams. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A rock berm is being tipped as the answer to erosion problems in Hemsby as homes continue to face the threat of being condemned.

Erosion continues to gnaw into soft sandy dunes at The Marrams where a rock berm is being tipped as the best line of defence Picture: ANTONY KELLYErosion continues to gnaw into soft sandy dunes at The Marrams where a rock berm is being tipped as the best line of defence Picture: ANTONY KELLY

With some six buildings directly at risk and 100 more just beyond the front line, action is urgently needed along the vulnerable stretch of coast.

Last year it took such a battering that a string of chalets were torn down along The Marrams, which remains undefended.

And a report which took a creative approach looking at 19 potential solutions looks to have settled on a final one - a rock berm, similar to the one at Scratby.

Ian Brennan, chairman of coastal pressure group Save Hemsby Coastline, said if all went to plan it could be in place within two and a half years.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council, he said, was looking for £20,000 in grant funding for an impact study to ensure that whatever they did at Hemsby would not have a negative effect elsewhere on the coast.

He said: “We have reached the stage where we have more or less decided what a scheme would be, which is a rock berm.

“The next stage is to make sure that if we did that work it would not damage somewhere else.”

Applying for planning permission and then funding would then follow, he added.

At this stage it was difficult to be certain about the costs for the 2km structure which would probably span £4m to £7m.

However with the Government already setting aside £2bn for coastal defences, hopes were high the money could be drawn down with so much at stake.

“We are going in the right direction but not fast enough,” he said.

“We are caught up in a lot of red tape but its all for good reasons.

“There are systems we have to go through.

“It would be nice to get planning permission and get started.”

He added that once all the approvals and funding were in place installation would only take a few months.

As far as vulnerable homes went, six were in the front line, five on the north side of the Marrams and one on the south.

“When they go there are another 20 that are vulnerable and when you get behind that you get another 100.”

The berm is considered a short-term solution while the longer battle against erosion carries on.

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