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One year on from the tidal surge Hemsby receives good news in battle to save beach

PUBLISHED: 08:05 05 December 2014 | UPDATED: 15:14 05 December 2014

Volunteers have helped construct flood defences in Hemsby.
A view from the Marrams, Hemsby.

Volunteers have helped construct flood defences in Hemsby. A view from the Marrams, Hemsby.

After months of tireless fundraising, coastal campaigners hope they have triumphed in the battle to save their beach after getting the go-ahead to start putting in defences.

Save Hemsby CoastlineSave Hemsby Coastline

Exactly a year after the devastating tidal surge that ravaged Norfolk’s coastline, the dedicated Save Hemsby Coastline (SHC) team were this week celebrating as government officials gave the nod to their scheme to bolster the village’s precious sands.

• Remembering the night the worst floods in 60 years swept through Norfolk and Suffolk

• Lowestoft could benefit from £3million council funding for flood defence works

• ‘Warrior spirit’ keeps the Hemsby community fighting after last year’s tidal surge

Although no government money was forthcoming - Hemsby sits on privately-owned land - campaigners say they are within a hair’s breadth of raising the cash themselves for the scheme.

The money will mean that tyres will be buried on the beach in a bid to build up an artificial marram that will stand as a protector in front of the established dunes that were torn down on December 5, 2013.

Campaigners say the defences, which they hope to install along 200m of beach, will protect 23 homes and they hope act as a kick starter to will pave the way for funding to protect the whole 1.2km stretch of coastline.

Ian Brennan, chairman of Save Hemsby Coastline, said: “We’re really happy and it’s perfect timing. It’s a combination of a lot of work and a lot of things behind the scenes.

“We have a plan and this is the first step of it, having something on the beach we can point to as a viable solution.”

The people-power campaign group was set up in the wake of tidal surge by those who watched homes on The Marrams get torn down and swallowed up by the sea. Since then they have worked to put defences in place to protect the fragile dunes and raised a five-figure sum to support the cause.

Their tyre trial scheme needed backing from Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the Watling Trust - which owns the beach - and the Environment Agency. And after receiving support from the council and trust the final sign off from the government has now followed, marking a huge triumph for the campaigners.

Mr Brennan said the group was keen to move quickly and hoped to break ground on the scheme before the end of the year.

Norfolk County Council and Hemsby Parish Council have have pledged £50,000 and £20,000 respectively to the scheme, which is expected to cost in excess of £130,000.

Their pledges will be added to SHC’s balance of £40,000 and the hard work for campaigners now continues as they need to raise the £30,000 shortfall.

Mr Brennan said the scheme would be going ahead no matter what even if they had to shorten the length of beach covered by the scheme, using the money they already had.

Once in place the tyres will be used as a shining example to allow campaigners to bid for bigger funding pots so they can shore up the rest of the coast - a step that is expected to cost between £1.5m and £2m.

• If you would like to support the campaign, send cash or a cheque made payable to Save Hemsby Coastline via the Lacon Arms pub in the village. Donations can also be paid into the group’s bank account with Lloyds; sort code 309997 acc no. 25276260, or via Paypal by emailing paypal@savehemsbycoastline.org.uk

Click here for our online archive of the floods.

Click here to buy your copy of “Turning the Tide”.


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