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‘I had nine metres of garden five hours ago - now it’s gone’ - residents tell of horror as stormy seas batter coastal village

PUBLISHED: 08:46 18 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:52 20 March 2018

Homes at Hemsby in a perilous position on the cliff side after high winds battered the coast.

Homes at Hemsby in a perilous position on the cliff side after high winds battered the coast.

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Several homes are in imminent danger of collapsing into the sea after wind and waves dismantled part of the Norfolk coastline.

Bungalows along the cliff edge at Hemsby are in danger of collapse as heavy winds and high tides batter the coast. Picture: Sonya DuncanBungalows along the cliff edge at Hemsby are in danger of collapse as heavy winds and high tides batter the coast. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Residents living at The Marrams in Hemsby are likely to be evacuated from their properties, many of which sit on large sand dunes that are being constantly battered by the severe weather.

Police cordoned off the access points to the beach and went from door to door in the area on Saturday, warning people of the ongoing threat to their safety. Homeowners were given the option to be rehoused at The Grange in Ormesby, with Hemsby lifeboat crews on standby to help with evacuation.

Homes at The Marrams, Hemsby, perilously close to collapsing. Picture: Mike PageHomes at The Marrams, Hemsby, perilously close to collapsing. Picture: Mike Page

Among those left with no option but to leave was Maurice Broom, who told of the devastating speed at which the dunes were torn apart from beneath him.

Speaking as he gathered his belongings together before heading to The Grange, he said: “I had nine metres of garden five hours ago - now it’s gone. I was 90 metres from the sea two years ago; now I’m a metre and a half away. I’m going to need a miracle.

Bungalows along the cliff edge at Hemsby are in danger of collapse as heavy winds and high tides batter the coast. Picture: Sonya DuncanBungalows along the cliff edge at Hemsby are in danger of collapse as heavy winds and high tides batter the coast. Picture: Sonya Duncan

“I’ve got 20 minutes to gather my belongings and my five pets - one of them is blind, so this is the last thing I need.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, was almost resigned to his home being lost to the ferocious sea.

“I think my house is going to go,” he said. “In my opinion, any of the houses along here are in danger. A guy who lives at the end is literally walking out of his house and onto the beach.

“Whatever you think of the houses along here, people live here; they’re people’s homes.

In 2013, seven homes in Hemsby were either washed away or badly damaged when the biggest tidal surge for 60 years hit the Norfolk coast.

The coastline was further dismantled when the Beast from the East struck earlier this month, and this weekend’s severe weather could see even more homes crumble into the sea.

Lorna Bevan, the pub landlady at the nearby Lacon Arms, said: “There’s an ongoing erosion problem here and, until we get proper sea defences, it’s going to keep on battering our dune line and keep on taking away our properties and our livelihoods.”

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