Plans lodged to replace Happisburgh’s demolished Beach Road homes

Plans have been lodged to replace a landmark string of clifftop homes that are being torn down before toppling into the North Sea.

And residents in Happisburgh are being urged to see the application to reinstate further inland the nine Beach Road properties as a positive step in the village's battle against the advancing waters.

Diggers began tearing down the threatened homes earlier this month and have since flattened the former lifeboat and coastguard stations. The demolition work was hailed as the end of an era.

But a mixed reaction to the new plans has prompted a coastal campaigner to urge his neighbours to see the move as good news.

Malcolm Kerby worked for more than four years on the pioneering Pathfinder scheme, which secured government funds to help the community deal with erosion blight after ministers refused to stump up the cash to shore up the coast. Residents who wanted to move were given 40pc of the value of their homes.

He said the new plans had received a mixed reaction from residents but thought the village was pleased to see environment chiefs follow through on their pledge to replace the lost homes.

Mr Kerby said: 'It's a very difficult time for the community for in many ways it (the demolition) is the end of an era but I truly believe this is the start of another. Once those properties are built we will be set, I hope, for another quarter of a century with very few problems.

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'If and when erosion catches up in 25 to 30 years time and the same situation applies, we have already got methodology in place to cope with it.

'The planning application and replacing those lost homes is one part of that process. I think it's a very positive step for the community.'

The plans, submitted to North Norfolk District Council by TM Trustees, propose to build a mixture of three- and four-bedroom detached and semi-detached homes off North Walsham Road, behind Happisburgh Primary School.

Documents supporting the application state building the new homes will inject 'confidence' into Happisburgh and show it has a 'sustainable future' as the village currently has a poor economic reputation because it is seen as 'falling into the sea'.

The levelling of the Beach Road homes is expected to take another nine weeks, after which the clifftop will be reinstated to grassland.

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