Cliff-top eviction row nears conclusion as Happisburgh grandmother concedes defeat
- Credit: Archant
A grandmother at the centre of an eviction battle with the council has conceded defeat and announced she finally plans to leave her cliff-top home amid concerns it could be swallowed by the sea.
Seventy-one-year-old Bryony Nierop-Reading had been given until January 7 to quit the caravan in Beach Road, Happisburgh, where she has been living since her neighbouring bungalow had to be demolished following storm surge damage three years ago.
The pensioner was originally told by North Norfolk District Council to leave the site by July 2, 2015. She lost an appeal but fought the eviction notice for almost two years.
Now, with more of the cliffs around her home being washed away by the sea during the tidal surge earlier this month and the council increasing pressure on her to move out, she admitted she has had enough.
Mrs Nierop-Reading, who blames the loss of her bungalow on the local authority for not providing adequate sea defences, said: 'I do not feel I can stand up to council bullying and threats any longer so am moving off field.
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The grandmother, who watched the land where her double garage once sat disappear into the sea over Christmas, was in negotiation with the council over the loan of a container to secure her belongings and clear the way for her move.
But, with nowhere to go, she branded the local authority 'inhumane' for their attempts to evict her in the middle of winter.
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Mrs Nierop-Reading said: 'My container is too near the edge of the cliff now due to falls and huge slice off my field to east also near ramp. A dog went over cliff last week back by mine.'
She added: 'When the container is in a safe location I will move my belongings from the mobile to the container. When the mobile is empty I will move into my motorhome. I will then remove the mobile and will move off site in the motorhome.'
Her decision to concede defeat follows a letter from a council officer which threatened to bill the pensioner for the cost of removing - and potential disposal of - her static caravan by JCB if she did not move it herself.
Steve Hems, the council's environmental health manager, said: 'I have being trying to ascertain from my colleagues if it has been possible to relocate the container we provided you due to the cliff loss on Friday night. If this has not yet been done I know work has been requested to achieve this.
'Given the recent loss of land to the seaward side of Felicity Fields I wonder if you have given further thought to moving the caravan yourself? The council has obtained quotations for undertaking the works in default. Due to the unpredictability of how easy it will be to move the caravan given the unknown condition of the structure the cheapest contractor has allowed a number of hourly sums and indicated some potential additional costs should they be necessary.'
'Unfortunately we are now some period past the notice expiry period and it is likely that unless you take action to comply with the notice then the council will undertake works to ensure compliance in the near future.'