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Study hope at village sliding into sea

PUBLISHED: 17:43 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

Dominic Bareham

TALKS are planned soon in an attempt to secure new measures to protect the shoreline at Scratby from the ravages of the sea.

Councillors are to meet a high-ranking official from the Environment Agency to discuss the possibility of obtaining a government grant for a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) for the village.

TALKS are planned soon in an attempt to secure new measures to protect the shoreline at Scratby from the ravages of the sea.

Councillors are to meet a high-ranking official from the Environment Agency to discuss the possibility of obtaining a government grant for a Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) for the village.

Borough councillor Jim Shrimplin told Scratby Coastal Erosion Group that the talks had been pencilled in for January 30. They would centre on securing funding for a study to look into the possibility of shoring up the sea defences.

If approved, the government money would add to an existing £60,000 grant from Great Yarmouth Borough Council agreed in November.

An original draft SMP proposed “holding the line” for the coast off Scratby by repairing existing defences, rather than building new barriers. This was superseded by a second draft which planned “no active intervention” where-by existing defences would be left in place and not repaired.

The latest talks, however, could result in a study into whether it is worth extending the rock berm, especially in the light of the tidal surge last November. At that time some of the dunes protecting the village were washed away, particularly at California Avenue, where one was completely eroded.

Erosion group chairman Robert Stephenson warned a meeting on Friday that a lot of homes in the village could be gone within 25 years. He supported expanding the berm from California to Newport Cottages to buy Scratby time until the government could come up with a solution to the flood defence problems.

“We did suffer severely in the storm surge. In front of my property I lost 15ft of dunes, and we do not need many of these tidal surges before we are in trouble,” he said.

Mr Stephenson also spoke of the need to ensure that home-owners were compensated for the full market value of their properties rather than the reduced value caused by erosion.

Great Yarmouth MP Tony Wright said he was keeping pressure on at Westminster to ensure that home-owners were compensated for any loss, and was working with MPs in neighbouring areas also threatened by coastal erosion.

He said: “We have got to get a formula that is right for the residents who are going to be affected, whether it is this year, next year or in 10 years' time.”

Villager Mike King voiced fears that dredging was removing sand and gravel that could act as a natural barrier against flooding, especially bearing in mind the building materials needed for the London 2012 Olympics.

Malcolm Kerby, of the Coastal Concern Action Group, said the Dutch prohibited any dredging within 25km of their coast and any activity of that kind was usually to replenish supplies of sand on nearby coasts, rather than for building trade use.

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