Firms raise money for work on West Norfolk sea defences

Work on recharging sera defences. Picture: Matthew Usher

Work on recharging sera defences. Picture: Matthew Usher - Credit: Matthew Usher

Businesses have raised more than £206,000 towards the cost of sea defences.

The majority of the funding was achieved by the The East Wash Coastal Management Community Interest Company (EWCMCIC), raising more than £178,000 from voluntary contributions from caravan parks, land owners and beach bungalows.

The remainder came from Anglian Water, West Norfolk council and 'local contributions', the borough council's cabinet heard.

Tthe annual shingle bank recycling works will begin next month covering the coastline between Hunstanton and Wolferton Creek.

Councillor Ian Devereux said: 'It's a complicated area with lots of technical challenges not the least of which has been engagement from all the local communities.

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'A great deal has been achieved and many thought we'd never see this level of funding raised locally, it's a tremendous achievement.'

The sea defences were previously wholly funded by central government but policy changes have meant local communities have to contribute 57pc of the funding.

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It was announced an additional funding of £300,000 has been secured from the regional flood coastal committee creating a surplus of £100,000 which will remain with EWCMCIC in case it is needed in future.

Mr Devereux added: 'There is a gap in funding in later years but pleased to announce the £300,000 will play a big role in closing the gap to the recharge process which eases a lot of concerns and risks about the future.'

Hunstanton town council as well as parishes in Snettisham, Heacham, Dersingham and Ingoldisthorpe had rejected proposals to contribute £108,000.

Hunstanton town councillor Richard Bird said: 'For the parishes it will not give the flexibility to spend money anywhere else, it is a lot of money to our community.'

He said the sea defences affect over 4,000 caravan sites and not the residents in the area and so responsibilty lies with the borough council.

West Norfolk council leader Brian Long said after the meeting: 'It was always a voluntary contribution towards the scheme but it is disappointing that something wasn't forthcoming.

'We will appreciate anything in future as the problems we face with sea defences will stay forever and additional funding may well be needed and will be gratefully received. For the benefit of their community they do have a responsibilty.'

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