£7m bid to save Hopton’s beach and cliffs from erosion
PUBLISHED: 12:26 11 January 2014 | UPDATED: 12:26 11 January 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
Blueprints for a multi-million pound sea defence scheme have been revealed after months of engineering work.
Operators of Hopton Holiday Village have put forward two proposals which they hope would save their beach which is vanishing due to coastal erosion.
The development comes as £3m of emergency defence works - a temporary fix - nears completion, with diggers and dumper trucks still on site.
Emergency work involves placing rock at the foot of the cliffs to shore them up, and adding soil behind the rock.
Bourne Leisure has now lodged plans for a permanent solution, with a 158-page marine engineering report and a further 93-page report handed to planning officers at Great Yarmouth Borough Council.
The first proposal - estimated at £7m - is for three fishtail groynes of around 120m each in length, and the second is for 10 curved rock groynes which are each 55 metres in length.
It is hoped these defences would stop sand shifting north to Gorleston - a problem that has caused sections of cliff to collapse and forced some holiday homes to be temporarily moved last year.
The borough council received the plans on December 17, around nine months after Bourne Leisure bosses publicly blamed the outer harbour for erosion - accusations strenuously denied by Great Yarmouth Port Company (GYPC).
Bourne Leisure claimed the outer harbour altered tidal flow along the east coast when it was built in 2008, but port bosses claim erosion is a natural occurence.
Jonathan Stratford, park general manager, said a permanent solution is needed.
Around 12,000 tonnes of rock has been placed at the foot of Hopton cliffs this winter, with 20,000 tonnes of earth as backfill.
And he said the park cannot rely on costly emergency work forever.
“We had further erosion from the cliff when the tidal surge happened,” said Mr Stratford. “The areas that suffered erosion were the areas we hadn’t shored up yet.
“If the emergency defence work can survive a once in 60 years storm we’re doing it right.
“That should hold us until the scheme is finished, but if we had some exceptional tides... we can never say never.”
He added that after drafting in more labour, the emergency works are ahead of schedule and should be completed by late February.
A spokesman for Bourne Leisure said of the planning application: “We’re in the early days of discussion with the council planning department and we believe the position will become clearer in a few weeks time.”
The exact cost and design of the final scheme is not yet decided, with two proposals on the table.
Legal action over the cause of the erosion at Hopton is ongoing, with Bourne Leisure looking to recover costs for the proposed defences from GYPC.
But GYPC has signalled it would contest any such claim.
Borough council planning councillors are set to decide whether to grant permission to the planning application by April 8.
What do you think? Email letters at the Mercury at email@example.com or write to 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PA