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United against Broads retreat

PUBLISHED: 18:24 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 11:08 03 July 2010

CAMPAIGNERS fighting a proposal to surrender their homes to the sea have vowed to continue looking for support.

And at the weekend a newly-launched petition attracted 2,790 signatures from holidaymakers.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting a proposal to surrender their homes to the sea have vowed to continue looking for support.

And at the weekend a newly-launched petition attracted 2,790 signatures from holidaymakers.

Potter Heigham villagers also plan to lobby anglers by organising a second petition at the staithe near the bridge on June 16 to coincide with the start of the fishing season.

The Save Our Broads coalition has been formed by beleaguered villagers to oppose government agency Natural England's proposal to allow six villages to be surrendered to the sea.

On Monday, a nine-strong team manned a stand outside Latham's supermarket in the village and only five of the 2,795 visitors questioned refused to add their names to the growing chorus of disapproval.

Keith Lowes, a member of Save Our Broads, said tourists from as far afield as Peterborough, Bedford, Leicester, Bradford and Sheffield had joined the campaign, and most had been stunned to hear about the plans to surrender the 25 square miles of the Broads instead of shoring up sea defences.

He said: “We are going to continue taking names and encouraging people to write to the government about it, especially on June 16 when the fishing season starts in Potter Heigham.

“We will be aiming to keep it in the front of people's minds so those from outside the area get to realise what is going on. There were people who come back to Potter Heigham year after year after year who were horrified about what we were telling them on Monday.”

The signatures will be presented to north Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, who is actively involved in the campaign to save Norfolk's coastline.

He will then present to parliament the petitions collected from the six villages threatened by Natural England's plans.

Mr Lowes also pledged to join Potter Heigham with Hickling, where villagers have also launched a campaign against the so-called “Option 4” in a bid to save their village. The other four threatened areas include Horsey, Sea Palling, Waxham and Eccles.

He said: “We believe that a mass movement has more clout, if we go in as a united front.”

The Natural England sea defence proposal is one of four policies it is currently examining to best manage the Norfolk Broads and surrounding coastline because of climate change. The other three options were to do nothing and let nature take its course, to hold the line and maintain existing defences and to adapt the line by moving coastal defences slightly inland.

But campaigners want money to be spent bolstering the sea wall between Eccles and Winterton to provide an effective barrier over the next 50 years.


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