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Work to tackle dunes erosion in Hemsby gets underway

Almost 2,000 tonnes of rock has begun arriving in Hemsby today ahead of work to protect sand dunes in an attempt to slow down erosion which threatens a number of homes.

A sign welcoming people to Hemsby

Following Spring high tides and strong winds last week, three homes in the Marrams were left at risk of collapsing on to the beach and had to be demolished over the weekend.

Two more homes are also in a precarious position and work is expected to begin on their demolition today following detailed surveys carried out by planning and building control experts at Great Yarmouth Borough Council. One further home will be moved further back from the shoreline if work can be completed before further erosion.

Councillor Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: ''Our contractors are today beginning to bring the rock by road from surplus granite stockpiled in Hopton.

''We are optimistic that the rock will then start to be positioned on the beach by the weekend to help protect homes and the access road.

''We must urge the public to stay away from the area while contractors and other experts carry out this vital work. Road closures are in place in the area and the beach remains closed.''

The work is being managed by the council's coastal management team, Coastal Partnership East (CPE), and it is hoped it will be completed within the next two weeks.

A spokesperson for CPE said: ''To try to mitigate the issue of coastal erosion, we are working on this short-term, interim option for Hemsby of granite rock in front of dunes that are eroding, providing urgent support to the main access road for a number of properties.

''This work will be similar to that completed to the frontage at Pakefield in December 2022. Funding secured for the urgent works will be beneficial to the longer-term aim of constructing a more significant rock berm as material can be re-used and re-purposed in any future works.''

Meanwhile Great Yarmouth Borough Council staff continue to work with residents in the area to ensure they are receiving the support and assistance they need. And work continues to make sure electricity, water, sewerage and drains are in good order.

Cllr Smith said: ''We continue to engage with the landowner of the Marrams - Geoffrey Watling (Norwich) Ltd - in seeking their support in how we might best address the erosion challenges in Hemsby.

''The safety and security of our residents is our number one priority and council staff are working with partners and other agencies to find the best possible solutions in these extremely difficult circumstances.''

Contractors carrying out the interim work will be using a temporary compound set up in the car park adjacent to the Lifeboat Station in Hemsby. During the works car parking will not be possible. Heavy plant and machinery will be accessing the beach from in front of the Lifeboat Station and will be stored in the site compound when not in use.

The contractors will also be liaising with police and the highways authority to minimise disruption from deliveries of equipment and materials to the site, which may involve abnormal loads.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: "We understand how distressing the situation is for residents whose homes have been affected, and we are supporting the council to minimise impacts on the community.''

Last modified on 14 February 2024

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