Beach taped off, road closed, and people warned to stay away as wrecking teams return to Hemsby

The beach at Hemsby is taped off today, May 1. Photo: Liz Coates

The beach at Hemsby is taped off today, May 1. Photo: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

A major operation is swinging into action at Hemsby today where seven clifftop homes are earmarked for demolition.

Lance Martin's home in the The Marrams is hanging over the edge of the cliff. Photo: Liz Coates

Lance Martin's home in the The Marrams is hanging over the edge of the cliff. Photo: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

In stark contrast to last night’s brutal conditions the sun beamed down on the storm-battered stretch this morning as the damage was assessed and contractors worked out the best way to mount the complex operation hampered by tides and shifting sands.

Police tape is preventing access to the beach as a digger claws back the sands and machinery assembles and prepares to make its way to the shattered shore.

The Marrams is also closed and residents have been asked to move their vehicles to a nearby car park.

Demolition work is due to begin this afternoon after the beach has been cleared of debris.

The Marrams is closed today, May 1, while homes are torn down. Photo: Liz Coates

The Marrams is closed today, May 1, while homes are torn down. Photo: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

For homeowner Lance Martin it means the end of his retirement dream.

After days of high tides and strong winds his property, number 198, is precariously poised on the edge of the dune, the swirling sea visible underneath the floor of what was his kitchen.

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The former soldier is still hopeful something can be salvaged and is seeking support for his scheme to move the chalet back.

He said he was “completely shocked” by the scale of the dune loss over the weekend and last night, amounting to at least 5m - enough to sound the death knell for the 1930’s built bungalow.

The sea can be seen swirling beneath Lance Martin's kitchen in The Marrams. Photo: Liz Coates

The sea can be seen swirling beneath Lance Martin's kitchen in The Marrams. Photo: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

MORE: Hemsby man’s plan to lift entire home and move it away from cliff edge“The council want to demolish it, it’s as simple as that,” he said.

“And I can completely understand it because of the public safety aspect. They have got a job to do.

“I completely sympathise and I appreciate how hard it is for them.

“But I am also thinking about the possibility of pulling it forward.

“If I can it’s a bonus, if I can’t life goes on.

“It was my dream. It still is, and if I can salvage anything from it I will.”

Mr Martin has been buoying spirits locally with his daily Facebook posts and wry observations about the sunrise and a lone beach walker.

This morning he posted “probably the last one ever.”

He said: “Property is hanging over the edge. It’s been a funny few months as a resident of this fantastic community. Life goes on. Let’s see what the future brings.”

Meanwhile deputy council leader Carl Smith urged people to stay away from the area while the operation to tear down the homes was underway.

He said there were concerns about the road at The Marrams, built on soft dunes like the houses, and the only access for some of the householders.

He said the council was also keen to see more involvement from the landowner.

Last night an evacuation centre was on standby at Hemsby Village Hall.

First aiders and representatives from the borough and parish councils were on hand, but were stood down sometime after 10pm.

Electricity had been cut to the threatened homes and there was a concern that other households would be left without power.