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Work to repair shattered sea defences months after Beast from the East pounding

PUBLISHED: 11:55 19 June 2018 | UPDATED: 11:55 19 June 2018

The hexagonal blocks at Hemsby and gabions at Scratby are being repaired after this winter's storm damage Photo: Liz Coates

The hexagonal blocks at Hemsby and gabions at Scratby are being repaired after this winter's storm damage Photo: Liz Coates

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Lumbering machines were on the beach at Scratby this morning as urgent work to rebuild shattered defences got underway.

Work has begun to repair the shattered gabions at Scratby Photo: Liz CoatesWork has begun to repair the shattered gabions at Scratby Photo: Liz Coates

The work to repair gabions (rock-filled cages) and reposition hexagonal concrete blocks has had to wait its turn while the crisis at Hemsby was dealt with.

Diggers were on site from 5am sifting through the sands and recovering giant rocks that had spilled out from their gabion cages, for re-use.

Some 180m of defences are being rebuilt following the Beast from the East storm, by the same contractor who put them in two years ago.

Since then the beach has dropped so much they can only work at low tide, bringing heavy machinery from Hemsby car park, the nearest vehicle access, which has been in continuous use during the Hemsby demolition work and road building.

A spokesman for Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “This is the next phase of the important recovery work that has taken place since the storm, which has seen the car park at Hemsby Gap in almost continuous use by a series of contractors.

Work has begun to repair the shattered gabions at Scratby Photo: Liz CoatesWork has begun to repair the shattered gabions at Scratby Photo: Liz Coates

“Due to the coastal geography, this is the only usable site compound with suitable vehicular access to the beaches at Hemsby and Scratby.

“The latest contractor to occupy the compound area will be undertaking urgent works on public safety grounds, in order to make safe and reconstruct the gabions, some of which are no longer in their correct position. They will also reinstate the dislodged hexi-blocks.

“This work is essential to make the area safe for beach users, to stop further deterioration and to continue to protect the dunes in this area.

“The borough council will work with the contractor to ensure the work is completed as quickly as possible. Due to the reduced height of the beach, crews will have to work around the tides.

Work has begun to repair the shattered gabions at Scratby Photo: Liz CoatesWork has begun to repair the shattered gabions at Scratby Photo: Liz Coates

“Due to the urgent nature of the required repairs, which are being undertaken as urgent works under the Coast Protection Act, the contractor will need to work through until completion, while seeking to keep disruption to a minimum.”

The gabions scheme, championed by Scratby Erosion Group (Sceg) was a second-best solution but looks to have done its job.

The £110,000 beehive bank of hexagonal rocks was tipped as a “unique solution” to coastal erosion.

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