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New coastal plan to bring ‘joined up’ approach

PUBLISHED: 08:16 10 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:23 10 September 2020

Clifftop homes at risk on the coast at Hemsby in early 2019.  A new Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document is designed to promote a 'joined up' approach for coastal communities such as this, some of which are threatened by erosion. Picture: Denise Bradley

Clifftop homes at risk on the coast at Hemsby in early 2019. A new Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document is designed to promote a 'joined up' approach for coastal communities such as this, some of which are threatened by erosion. Picture: Denise Bradley

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The first steps are being taken on a new plan that could guide the region’s response to coastal development and erosion for years to come.

The Draft Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document would cover the coastline from Holkham to Felixtowe. Image: From the draft SPDThe Draft Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document would cover the coastline from Holkham to Felixtowe. Image: From the draft SPD

An initial consultation on the plan, which would cover the coast from Holkham to Felixtowe, has begun.

The plan, called a Draft Coastal Adaptation supplementary planning document (SPD), will look at ways communities can adapt to coastal change, and provide a ‘joined up’ approach’ to development.

The outline to the plan says: “Coastal change is an inevitable part of a dynamic coastline.

“This presents a challenge in planning for the appropriate management of our coastlines.

Happisburgh Lighthouse. A new Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document is designed to promote a 'joined up' approach for coastal communities such as this, some of which are threatened by erosion. Picture: Kate WolstenholmeHappisburgh Lighthouse. A new Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document is designed to promote a 'joined up' approach for coastal communities such as this, some of which are threatened by erosion. Picture: Kate Wolstenholme

“The risk of coastal flooding and vulnerability to erosion along the coast does not respect local planning authority boundaries, and therefore coastal change needs to be considered across a wide geography.”

Parts of our region have some of the fastest eroding coastline in Europe.

While measures including sand dumping at Walcott/Bacton and transverse groynes at Sea Palling have helped stem the loss of land, other areas, including Happisburgh, have been subject to ongoing erosion.

The SPD would be valid as long as councils’ local plans - which end around the year 2036 - are valid - although those local plans themselves have to be reviewed every five years.

Sea defences at Happisburgh. A new Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document is designed to promote a 'joined up' approach for coastal communities such as this, some of which are threatened by erosion. Picture: Ian BurtSea defences at Happisburgh. A new Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document is designed to promote a 'joined up' approach for coastal communities such as this, some of which are threatened by erosion. Picture: Ian Burt

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The plan is being led by East Suffolk Council, in partnership with Great Yarmouth Borough Council, North Norfolk District Council, the Broads Authority, and the shared Coastal Partnership East team.

A spokesperson for the project group and Coastal Partnership East said: “This SPD will ensure planning guidance is up to date, aid the interpretation and delivery of planning policy, and provide case study examples of coastal adaptation best practice.”

The plan is meant to replace two earlier planning documents: Coastal Erosion and Development Control Guidance, which covers north Norfolk, and the Development and Coastal Change SPD, whcih covers the former Waveney area, now a part of East Suffolk Council.

The consultation is open until October 16, and people can have their say by visiting eastsuffolk.inconsult.uk.

Each authority would be expected to adopt the plan following a further consultation next year.


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