Please don’t let is happen again - people of Hemsby ask David Cameron when government will spend money on coastal defences

Floods December 2013. Pictured: Hemsby lifeboat shed. Photo: Mike Page Floods December 2013. Pictured: Hemsby lifeboat shed. Photo: Mike Page

Thursday, December 12, 2013
10:10 AM

Please don’t let this happen again, prime minister.

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That was the message to David Cameron from the people of Hemsby as they called for assurances their coast will be protected by permanent defences.

In an open letter to Mr Cameron, the people of Hemsby beach – where seven seafront homes and the old lifeboat shed were torn down during last week’s tidal surge – have asked why he has “allowed Hemsby to be totally unprotected when you know the solution to the problem?”

“Mr Cameron, the people of Norfolk are grateful for your visit to Wells-Next-The-Sea on December 9... to survey the damage brought about by the storm surge,” they said.

“The most far reaching impact of the surge happened at Hemsby, so it is with sadness we note that neither you nor (environment secretary) Owen Paterson visited our damaged village to see for yourselves how our total lack of any sea defence at all allowed homes to be taken by the sea.

“We fully appreciate this was an exceptional tide, the largest in 60 years, but our total lack of any defence at all exacerbated the level of loss and damage.”

During the visit to Wells on Monday, Mr Paterson said the government will be increasing budgets on flood defences and “spending more than any previous government on flood defences”.

Keen to know how much, when, and where this promised money would be spent, the residents and businesses behind the letter have challenged Mr Cameron to take action in Hemsby “before it is too late”.

A community campaign, Save Hemsby Coastline, already spent the summer fund-raising for their beach and raised a total of £18,000 to buy DIY sea defences. Volunteers had put down 200m of gabion defences – metal cages filled with rocks, when last Thursday’s storm hit.

For Lacon Arms landlord Lorna Bevan-Thompson, a dedicated Hemsby campaigner whose family has lived and run businesses at the east coast resort for generations, what happened last week changed the game.

“This is our home and our heritage,” she said.

“Why should that be taken away just because the government won’t stop and do a little bit of preservation for us.

“People have lost their homes through no fault of their own. It has been snatched away from them through no fault of their own.”

While the Shoreline Management Plan for Winterton to Scratby is managed realingment, Mrs Bevan-Thompson believes only groynes will give Hemsby beach a fighting chance.

Groynes, built at angles, are designed to absorb the impact of the tide and direct drifting sand back onto the beach.

“Once the dunes are gone, we can’t bring them back,” said Mrs Bevan-Thompson.

“We must act now.”

What do you think? Write, with your full contact details, to EDP letters editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.

8 comments

  • It's happened before & it will happen again , you can't control nature , but it doesn't stop some people buying homes & businesses in areas where flooding is not so much a risk as a certainty.

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    Tudor Bushe

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • The Lacon Arms was only for sale on the market a few years ago-if Ms Bevan Thompson's family has run businesses at Hemsby for generations they should have had more sense than to buy it. There is no heritage at Hemsby Beach, it is a 20th Century kiss me quick blot on the landscape of shanty chalets and small fry seaside amusements catering to holiday parks. Just a few yards up the coast is an SSSI , but at Hemsby that same habitat has been used as a car park. The village of Hemsby is well inland, and the coast would look rather better for the removal of some of the excesses and something a little more appropriate to such a beautiful coastline.

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • Cameron clearly didn't much fancy a day out with Brandon Lewis.

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    DT

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • Daisy Roots what are you talking about.?

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    Lee Jones

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • Folk mainly buy homes or trade outlets here because it's hell of alot cheaper than elsewhere. This is because there is a risk of the natural elements (for you sand dune dwellers, wind,rain,tides etc) affecting your homes. The insurance companies know this and probably refuse to insure you due to location,cost of home in the first place etc etc. So again,I must hasten to add.....NO SYMPATHY.

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    wes1975

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • Lacons Arms was on the market a few years ago-so why buy it? Happy that the tax payer would pick up the bill? Caveat Emptor

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    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, December 12, 2013

  • Frank, agree you cannot control nature, however you can try a lot harder than we do, I work with several people who live in Holland, just the other side of the North Sea, what effect did the tidal surge have on them? None... as one of them told me, it was a bit windy but our sea defenses worked wonders", now if they can do it, why cant we? It just proves that other countries are prepared to spend money to protect themselves, whereas our politicians are not really interested in the "backwaters" of Norfolk or other little coastal towns. Soon built a barrier to protect London didn't they.

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    Mr T

    Friday, December 13, 2013

  • the message is loud and clear .The people of norfolk and suffolk are not going to get any sea defences . They are not going to get any money for the damage caused . You will not get these defences if you keep voting for the lies of the three main parties

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    milecross

    Friday, December 13, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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