Erosion fears for historic Norfolk fishing homes after December 5 tidal surge

Residents/owners of Newport Cottages in Newport feel abandoned after the tidal surge in December as they say nothing is being done to protect their homes, which have been left vulnerable. The Marrams.  Picture: James Bass Residents/owners of Newport Cottages in Newport feel abandoned after the tidal surge in December as they say nothing is being done to protect their homes, which have been left vulnerable. The Marrams. Picture: James Bass

Monday, February 24, 2014
10:12 AM

Residents living in a string of historic fishermen’s cottages on Norfolk’s east coast say they have been “left out” of sea defence schemes in the wake of the December 5 tidal surge.

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Residents/owners of Newport Cottages in Newport feel abandoned after the tidal surge in December as they say nothing is being done to protect their homes, which have been left vulnerable.

Picture: James BassResidents/owners of Newport Cottages in Newport feel abandoned after the tidal surge in December as they say nothing is being done to protect their homes, which have been left vulnerable. Picture: James Bass

The storm gouged huge chunks out of the fragile cliffs at Newport and brought the biting tide closer to Newport Cottages - a terrace of homes that date back to the 19th century.

The distinctive properties were built for people who made a living from the sea using pebbles from the beach and lime mortar. Last March they were ringed inside a conservation area by Great Yarmouth Borough Council to ensure their preservation.

But despite the protective label, residents feel nothing has been done to guard their homes - now 150 foot from the edge - against the pounding North Sea and any future storms.

Ian Brennan, who has owned his cottage for two years, said around 30 foot of the dunes were washed away on December 5, and the homes were now protected by nothing more than a “big sand castle”.

Residents/owners of Newport Cottages in Newport feel abandoned after the tidal surge in December as they say nothing is being done to protect their homes, which have been left vulnerable.

Picture: James BassResidents/owners of Newport Cottages in Newport feel abandoned after the tidal surge in December as they say nothing is being done to protect their homes, which have been left vulnerable. Picture: James Bass

The 54-year-old BT manager said: “We do feel a bit left out. Despite the fact it’s seen as an important area we still get very little or no support.

“You look in one direction and Scratby has some sort of sea defence, so does Winterton. From Long Beach right the way down to the cottages is nothing.

“We love it here, it’s so special. We don’t have to have that many more storms and they’re gone.”

Fellow homeowner Dean Lardner said residents had called on local councillors and the Geoffrey Watling charity - which owns Hemsby beach - for help, but it had got to the stage where they had started to take matters into their own hands.

“We have put up homemade signage to try and keep people off [the dunes] because of the erosion and used shrubbery to try and block some of the gaps,” he added. “It’s the residents that are doing it.”

The charity gave locals permission to push ahead with DIY sea defences last year and in October huge concrete blocks were loaded along the Marrams.

The defences are now being monitored to see if they can help turn the tide against erosion, and if successful money raised by campaign group Save Hemsby Coastline could be used to buy and install more blocks, to run from Hemsby gap to Newport.

John Weston, managing agent for the charity - which put forward £11,000 for the DIY scheme - stressed the historic homes had not been abandoned.

He said: “There’s no question of Newport Cottages having been deliberately left out of anything. We just haven’t been able to do anymore work than what we have done. Only a limited amount of work has been permitted but all of that has been done.”

He added that fencing across the Marrams - to stop people increasing the risk of erosion - was being “reviewed” but the dunes are still believed to be moving.

8 comments

  • He bought his place there 2 years ago, probably got it cheap due to possible coastal erosion. Now complains when the inevitable is happening. Look about you when buying property, near the sea, think erosion. In a flood area, think flooding. It's hardly rocket science.

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    DaveG

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • I agree that there are a few old cottages which are likely to be vulnerable. Same as the ones on Rottenstone lane or row at Scratby But doesnt the name give it away? Why show a picture of old holiday chalets ( or rather shacks) built any old how before permission was needed on sand dunes- of course they are going to get washed away and were never meant to be permanent. And the fishermen probably had to build where they could, like those at Caister-this does not mean it was sensible nor that they can last forever. I think the EDP is being sensationalist. The question they should be asking is why GYBC has allowed so many new homes on exactly the same rotten stone sand cliffs just a few yards further south-not demanding money from council tax payers to protect them or eliciting sympathy for people who buy property in daft places-two years ago-twenty years ago it was obvious what was happening.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • Others may mock but that orange fencing can make a great start to restoring the dune system. Much more cost effective than lumps of concrete or granite if you have the luxury of a long intertidal zone. Keep at it and don't let the weather grind you down.

    Report this comment

    George Ezekial

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • And has it not occurred to anyone that for there to be sand dunes there must have been an erosion of the land where they sit before the sand blew over and made the dunes? Wind blown dunes build up on a former flat beach surely?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • I agree with the comments suggesting the homes should never have been built so close to the sea and most fisherman's huts were never expected to be permanent. Common sense apparently went out of the door when these homes were purchased. I don't want to see a penny of tax money spent on preserving them.

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    kenneth jessett

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • just where is that man who said money was no object . Can anybody find him . British taxes for british people

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • I agree with the comments suggesting the homes should never have been built so close to the sea, and most fisherman's huts were never expected to be permanent. Common sense apparently went out of the door when these homes were purchased. I don't want to see a penny of tax money spent on preserving them.

    Report this comment

    kenneth jessett

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • Daisy Roots never was a label more fitting than your's WEED!!!

    Report this comment

    Patricia

    Friday, February 28, 2014

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

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