Views needed in Scratby erosion fight

PEOPLE in Scratby and California are being asked for their comments over plans to move housing, buildings and holiday facilities to new “roll-back” zones further inland.

The policy is aimed at maintaining the character of the communities if erosion predictions which say Scratby will lose 55 properties by 2055 are correct.

Bernard Harris, coastal manager, at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said letters had been sent to every home for general comments ahead of a planning exhibition in Rottenstone Lane today and tomorrow.

The draft proposals came from a workshop held in the village where local people said they valued the special character of the vulnerable seaside communities.

The blueprint designates sites to which buildings and homes can be moved if erosion starts picking them off at the rate that is predicted.

Known as Coastal Change Management Areas (CCMA), development will be strictly confined to relocations, possibly on farmland or existing chalet parks where building is not usually allowed.

Mr Harris stressed that there was no money to back up the relocation proposals and that, as with any designation it did not mean any development would actually take place.

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However, if homes and businesses were rolled back – the new buildings would be in keeping with the character of the village, with buildings decided on on an individual basis.

The consultation is part of the �296,000 Pathfinder project – one of 15 nationwide whose findings will be used to shape a composite policy for the country’s coastline.

This week’s letter is the seventh to be dropping on village door mats since January. Each villager has been visited at least four times and there have been at least four public exhibitions and drop in sessions.

Mr Harris said he hoped the whole village would join the debate especially younger people who stood to be most affected by coastal change and people further in land who perhaps believed they would be unaffected by erosion but may now find themselves close to a roll-back zone.

Last night, Jim Bratton, secretary of Scratby Coastal Erosion Group, said that while it was sensible to be prepared for the worst, the group was pleased to be involved in the consultation process, members were convinced that investing in sea-defences made the most economic sense.

“Our position from day one has been to defend the coast,” Mr Bratton said. “What this is saying is that the coast would not be defended and this is your alternative.”

Jim Shrimplin, chairman of the Pathfinder management group said: “This is just to develop policy for if the worst did happen and where the village could be moved to. It would be a gradual thing, it wouldn’t happen overnight.”

The Pathfinder project is seen as a test case to find the best way to approach the complex erosion issue. Creating roll-back land aims to manage changes while retaining the village character.

Visit the planning exhibition at Rottenstone Lane car park today from 2pm to 8.30pm and tomorrow 9.30am to 1.30pm.