Beach ramp to remain closed until cliffs are “deemed safe”
- Credit: Archant
A ramp which gives people access to a North Norfolk beach has been closed amid fears the nearby cliffs are too unstable.
Happisburgh’s beach access ramp was closed to the public on September 28 after storms and gale force winds battered the coast, eroding the beach level by more than a metre.
The lowered beach levels allowed deeper than normal seawater to come inshore eroding the toe of the ramp and washing away fallen spoil from the foot of the cliffs making them overly steep and more prone to slippage.
Now, one month after the ramp was initially closed, North Norfolk District Council’s coast management team has said the access will remain off-limits until the area is deemed safe.
In a notice posted near the ramp, NNDC’s coastal management team said the recent erosion coupled with increased rainfall had made the cliffs “extremely vulnerable to immediate failure at any time.”
The team said another factor keeping the ramp closed was that at high water, the toe of the ramp was partially covered by the sea, meaning anyone wishing to access the beach was forced to pass “very close to the unstable cliffs and the risk of being hit by spoil from a cliff slip [was] very high.
“This is currently an unacceptable risk, thus the access has been closed until such time as the risk is removed.”
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A spokesperson for NNDC added that the ramp would be shut until it was deemed safe and it was “unable to give an exact time frame” for how long the process would take.
The Happisburgh community is no stranger to coastal erosion.
In 2019, the village was predicted to be the worst hit by coastal erosion in the UK over the next 20 years. The report, compiled by Confused.com, which used data from the Environment Agency, predicted a loss of 318ft of land before 2040.
While the beach ramp is closed, accesses to beach can be gained via at Bacton and Walcott to the west and Cart Gap to the east of Happisburgh.