More damage expected on coastline at Hemsby and Winterton

Two lifeboat crew next to the newly formed shelf.

Kevin Fenn (left) and John Hayden, crew at Hemsby Lifeboat, next to the newly formed shelf at Hemsby Gap. - Credit: Archant

"The damage has been done, but there is more to come."

That is the message from officials along Great Yarmouth borough's coastline who have suffered more erosion overnight.

A sign at Winterton cliffs.

Alternative routes have to be made to access Winterton beach. - Credit: Archant

On Sunday morning, officers from Winterton Coastwatch and crew from Hemsby Lifeboat discovered more material from the beach and dunes has been claimed by the sea.

The cliff's edge by Winterton car park has receded further inland and is getting closer to the Winterton Coastwatch office.

Coastwatch officer Mel Messen said: "We are expecting worse tonight and It's not looking promising.

"The edging at the car park has been taken away directly in front of our office.

"It wasn't so bad last night, but we are expecting the worst for the next three nights.

"Hopefully it won't do too much damage.

Most Read

"But it is not looking good."

Winterton cliff

Winterton Coastwatch are expecting more damage to be done overnight. - Credit: Archant

Mr Messen said the upcoming high winds might determine how soon the Coastwatch will have to move their existing outpost before it ends up in the sea.

"It is getting quite desperate and we're heartbroken we've got to move.

"But we're hoping for the best and expecting the worst.

"If the winds fish round to the east, then we're in serious trouble."

The cliff at Winterton

Councillor James Bensly has said there is a public risk of landslides at the cliff on Winterton carpark. - Credit: Archant

In early December, Hemsby Lifeboat had to flatten a newly formed shelf on the beach, which prevented them from being able to launch.

On Sunday, much of their earlier work had been in vain as Hemsby Gap had lost several meters of material and a newly formed shelf had once again restricted access to the sea.

The shelf at Hemsby Gap.

The newly formed shelf at Hemsby Gap limits the lifeboat's access to the beach. - Credit: Archant

Coxswain Daniel Hurd said: "At this rate, we won't have anything left.

"It's depressing as more is expected tonight."

Hemsby residents have been battling the sea for decades. However, funding for sufficient sea defences has been an ongoing issue.

Dunes at Hemsby

The strong winds have blown away much of the dune by Hemsby Lifeboat. - Credit: Archant

Mr Hurd said: "The more I see this happen, the more it bugs me.

"We need supply of gabions and rock armour.

"But it looks like we're going to have to take it into our own hands.

"Something needs to be done.

"It started way back in 2013. We lost our old shed and helped with some DIY defences.

"But we want to see action, machines on the beach, a rock berm and get it sorted."

The cliff at Winterton

Winterton beach is now inaccessible from the carpark. - Credit: Archant

West Flegg councillor James Bensly visited both sites in Winterton and Hemsby on Sunday.

Mr Bensly said: "We are concerned about the recent weather event.

"The north-westerly wind has cost us a significant amount of material on our coastline and formed a shelf at Hemsby.

Winterton Cliffs

Access to Winterton beach from the carpark is no longer safe to use. - Credit: Archant

"We have also lost some dune and cliff face in Winterton which has exposed more of the road and we have lost a safe route down to the beach.

"The car park and The Edge is still open and it is still safe to visit, but alternative routes down to the beach are needed.

"In Winterton, our main concern is public safety around potential landslides.

"In Hemsby, our concern is the lifeboat not being able to launch because of the cliff that has formed. The lifeboat can launch, but it might have difficulties getting vessels back on land.

"We are trying to protect Hemsby Gap. We and the Environmental Agency have to maintain the area to maintain our assets with methods already being used further down the coast - such as the gabions at Scratby.

The cliff at Winterton

Winterton Coastwatch fear their expected relocation will have to happen sooner rather than later. - Credit: Archant

"Hemsby Gap is the only access point for the machinery to access the sea, so we really need to look after that.

"The car park in Winterton also needs help and guidance in maintaining and adapting with our environment.

"That too is an asset for existing parking issues in the village.

"The damage has been done and we are concerned about more to come overnight."

Storm Malik brings a yellow weather warning for strong winds set to last until Monday.

The Met Office has said that the winds will likely cause some travel disruption and could generate large and dangerous waves around the coast.

On Saturday, parts of Norfolk saw winds of nearly 60mph.

Elsewhere, train lines have been affected by winds and high tides with the Lowestoft to Norwich line out of action due to the opening of a pothole.