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Council continues to support residents as work is underway to assess damage caused by erosion to dunes

Following several days of high Spring tides and strong winds, Great Yarmouth Borough Council continues to support residents and work with other agencies to tackle the effects of erosion of the dunes at Hemsby.

A sign welcoming people to Hemsby

Those people whose homes are at risk have been offered alternative accommodation by the council and three properties were demolished over the weekend to prevent them collapsing on to the beach.

Planning and building control experts today continue to survey homes in the Marrams and assess the damage. It is currently thought two further properties will need to be demolished.

Road closures remain in place in the area and the beach is closed to the public for safety reasons while work continues.

Councillor Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: ''It is essential for public safety that people stay away from the Marrams and the beach.

''There are clear signs in place advising people of where access is not permitted, but sadly a small number of people continue to visit the area and are choosing to put themselves and others at risk by not heeding the warnings.

''We are also in contact with the landowners, Geoffrey Watling (Norwich) Ltd, to seek their support in addressing the erosion challenges as we try to do all we can to help residents.''

A spokesperson for Great Yarmouth Borough Council's coastal management team, Coastal Partnership East (CPE), said today: ''Great Yarmouth Borough Council, via CPE, is initiating emergency works to reduce the erosion risk to the main access road for the Marrams. This road provides access for a number of properties and is also the conduit for utilities like water and electricity.''

All those with homes at risk have been visited by the council's housing and community teams who continue to offer advice. Storage space for people who need somewhere to put belongings has been organised and assistance in moving items is being provided.

Jane Beck, Great Yarmouth Borough Council's head of property and asset management, said: ''The safety and wellbeing of residents is of paramount importance. It is incredibly distressing for those who have lost their homes and we are supporting those affected.''

''Our teams and other experts continue to assess damage and examine what the next steps are. Everyone who needed to move has done so and we will be providing ongoing assistance where necessary.''

Meanwhile, CPE - working with its contractors Balfour Beatty - is arranging for rock to be brought by road to Hemsby from nearby Hopton. The plan is then to place the rock on the beach in front of the most at-risk section of road.

This work is being done under the Coastal Protection Act (1949) which grants the Coastal Protection Authority special powers to act in an emergency to protect land, people or property.

Power and water have been secured in the Marrams and there is no gas supply, but utility companies, the landowners and other agencies are analysing what longer-term solutions may be required. Work is also taking place to make sure sewerage and drainage is safe and secured.

The CPE spokesperson added: ''All relevant statutory bodies have acknowledged the urgent need for this work. We are working with the landowner to secure relevant access and permissions to undertake work. Great Yarmouth Borough Council and CPE are navigating the processes we need to follow to deliver this in a safe and legally compliant way and Balfour Beatty are on-site ready to undertake works.

''We will proceed as the risks from the recent high spring tides decrease. We aim to deliver a short-term rock solution to defend the access road to the Marrams South in the next two weeks ahead of the Equinox tides in the next few weeks, which can be the highest Spring tides.''

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: "We are supporting the council to minimise impacts on the community and are working with coast protection authority partners to release emergency funds for work at Hemsby if they are required."

Last modified on 14 February 2024

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