�250,000 bid to keep Southwold seafront home in the family

A SEAFRONT home threatened by cliff slippage could be demolished and rebuilt, if plans are given the go-ahead.

The house at number six, East Cliff, Southwold, was deemed beyond repair after a survey revealed its steel frame was corroding, its two-story structure was subsiding, its drainage system had failed and there was rising damp throughout the building.

But if the proposals are approved by Waveney District Council, it will undergo a �250,000 transformation, with the current building replaced by a light-weight, timber-framed, property in keeping with its original character.

The house has been in the same family for close to 100 years and was once used as a look-out post during the second world war.

A coastal erosion vulnerability report seen by The Journal states: 'The site is [...] vulnerable to loss as a result of cliff instability induced by 'soil creep', accelerated by burrowing rabbits and surface water.

'However, the improvement undertaken in 1986 reduced the angle of repose of the cliff to less than 30 degrees and provided support at the toe of the cliff, thereby increasing the factor of safety against failure.'

It adds: 'The development proposal for the site, as detailed in the client's agent submission, acknowledges the risks to the property as a result of cliff failure from either coastal erosion or cliff slippage.

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'However, the potential risk of the loss of the property cannot be ignored as this is a vulnerable site requiring a commitment of long-term maintenance work to ensure it remains protected.'

The house, a former Harbour Pilot's cottage, has been in the Vulliamy family for 98 years after it was purchased by the current owners' great-grandfather in 1913 as a holiday home.

Severe cliff subsidence at East Cliff led to the property being rebuilt in 1906 when a veranda and a balcony were added.

During the second world war, the house was requisitioned by the defence forces and converted into a semi-fortified look-out post.

But the military left it in a run-down state, with only a small grant provided to the family to make repairs and improvements.

Since then, the house has remained unchanged except for modest repairs and decoration between 2003 and 2006.

Revealing the intentions of the current owners, the council report states: 'The present owners wish to keep the house in the family for another century, but to bring it up to modern structural and thermal specifications, whilst retaining the intrinsic character of the property.'

It concludes: 'The risk of cliff failure will increase during the demolition and re-building activity. Safe working methods can remove or reduce the level of risk.'

The plans are expected to be discussed by Waveney's development control committee at a later date.

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