Policy will help north Suffolk families threatened by erosion

A groundbreaking policy to help beleaguered Suffolk homeowners who face losing their homes to coastal erosion is to be formalised next week.

On Wednesday, Waveney District Council is to set in stone a lands right move promise for people in Corton and Easton Bavents.

Once ratified, people who face losing their property to Mother Nature over the next 20 years can move to safe land nearby and still keep residential land use so they can build similar properties if they follow relevant planning law.

Businesses will also be able to relocate in similar arrangements.

In November, the England family, of the Retreat, Easton Bavents, were given early residential land transfer rights by the council after the erosion of metres of land threatened their chalet and mobile home.

Planners granted the Englands and eight other property owners permission as it was feared homes would be lost before Wednesday's approval of the development management policy document.

The Englands, brother and sister Charles and Beth, hope to move into a new property by the autumn.

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Their father, Paul, who lives in Strickland Place, Southwold, hoped other families in both villages would benefit from similar agreements in future. He said: 'Because of the agreement we had the opportunity to be cavalier and relocate our properties. It accepts what we are all facing here in a very pragmatic way. I think the council deserves some applause for its efforts.'

The land rights transfer, one of the first nationally, is part of a new planning policy covering housing, tourism, employment, sustainable design and the environment.

The policy for Corton and Easton Bavents says: 'Allowing replacement development to take place... is intended to assist in minimising the blighting effects resulting from the predictions of coastal erosion included in shoreline management plans.

'Proposals for the relocation and replacement of dwellings affected by coastal erosion will be permitted provided the dwelling is a permanent building and likely to be affected by erosion within 20 years of the date of the proposal.

'This is considered appropriate taking into account that it would be difficult to obtain a mortgage on a property likely to be affected by coastal erosion within this time frame and would be difficult to sell.'