• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Hemsby demolition: Clifftop homeowner says she only learnt house would be pulled down a day before

Bynewsmagzines

Mar 13, 2023
Homeowners were forced to look on as a digger moved in to destroy their clifftop houses that are inches away from toppling into the sea. Pictured is the house of Sue, which was demolished

[ad_1]

A widow has described her shock after claiming her seaside home close to a crumbling cliff edge was demolished at just a day’s notice.

Sue, who did not wish to give her surname, said she only learned on Friday that her property on the Marrams in Hemsby, Norfolk, would be pulled down on Saturday.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she described a frantic rush to strip the property of all its furniture and valuables before it was torn down.

She said: ‘The council did come and help remove everything, but obviously it was a shock.

‘The week before, we had a little bit of land loss and they decided to cut the electricity off. 

Homeowners were forced to look on as a digger moved in to destroy their clifftop houses that are inches away from toppling into the sea. Pictured is the house of Sue, which was demolished

Homeowners were forced to look on as a digger moved in to destroy their clifftop houses that are inches away from toppling into the sea. Pictured is the house of Sue, which was demolished

Homeowners were forced to look on as a digger moved in to destroy their clifftop houses that are inches away from toppling into the sea. Pictured is the house of Sue, which was demolished

Images show the gradual deterioration of the cliff edge in the Marrons, Hemsby, Norfolk, over the last three decades

Images show the gradual deterioration of the cliff edge in the Marrons, Hemsby, Norfolk, over the last three decades

Images show the gradual deterioration of the cliff edge in the Marrons, Hemsby, Norfolk, over the last three decades

‘But in the week when I was trying to get the electricity pole re-sited and moved , I was told by the electricity people they weren’t going to re-site it, because I was going to get the building pulled back [away from the cliff edge].

‘The people who own the land had given permission for that to happen but the council didn’t want to do that.’

A number of other homes in Hemsby have been moved away from the cliff edge and Sue was hoping the same thing would happen to her property.

When asking why this didn’t take place, Sue says the local authority insisted planning permission was needed, although she argued retrospective permission could have been explored.

‘You’d think in an emergency it would be fair to have retrospective planning, [but] they said they’d served the Section 78 and there was no argument or anything, they would just demolish it.’

Ten years ago, five homes in Hemsby fell into the sea after a storm and the damage to the cliff meant that others were demolished in 2018, as part of ‘a managed retreat’ by the local authority.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council has told media it is doing everything it can for residents involved.

Despite the shock of the demolition, Sue acknowledged that the sea had been ‘dramatic’ in the prior week.

A number of other homes in Hemsby have been moved away from the cliff edge and Sue was hoping the same thing would happen to her property (pictured)

A number of other homes in Hemsby have been moved away from the cliff edge and Sue was hoping the same thing would happen to her property (pictured)

A number of other homes in Hemsby have been moved away from the cliff edge and Sue was hoping the same thing would happen to her property (pictured)

‘The last week was dramatic, the sea was wild but you’ve got a lot of factors, you’ve got (we had) the bomb blast and I heard that miles away… according to the newspapers we had an earthquake over Yarmouth, the knock-on of that must have [big], think what a tsunami does. Even though it was 3.7 on the Richter scale, it would have had some effect on the seabed and the sea.’

Sue also said two new sandbanks had formed along the cliff edge recently.

She added: ‘I think, where we were exactly where we were, the water had been pushed in further.’

‘I hadn’t left the main property I was in. So I’m back here with things up to my eyeballs, so I’m luckier… I used to live there fulltime but unfortunately my husband died and I needed to be back [here].

‘The erosion had been really slow in that area but geographically the tides have changed, it is different – it’s not the same as three years ago.

Three residents from The Marrams in Hemsby, Norfolk, were forced to leave their wooden homes

Three residents from The Marrams in Hemsby, Norfolk, were forced to leave their wooden homes

Three residents from The Marrams in Hemsby, Norfolk, were forced to leave their wooden homes

The first of the demolished houses belonged to Sue (pictured), who hoped more could have been done to save her home for the past three years

The first of the demolished houses belonged to Sue (pictured), who hoped more could have been done to save her home for the past three years

The first of the demolished houses belonged to Sue (pictured), who hoped more could have been done to save her home for the past three years

Mary Withey, another resident whose home is being demolished, also said: ‘I’m not OK with it, it’s been my home, I don’t want to move… it’s very sad, 

‘When I first heard I was in shock and today I’ve just been tearful, it’s horrible.’

She and her partner had lived in their home for four years before hearing the terrible news.

The head of property and asset management at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Jane Beck, claimed the plans were to demolish all three properties within the day, before the next high tide at 9.38pm.

‘It’s extremely sad for those people and we’re trying to do everything we possibly can to help them through that process,’ she said.

Fire crews were reported to have knocked on doors on Friday, urging those still in the affected properties to leave.

The head of property and asset management at Great Yarmouth Borough Council claimed the plans were to demolish all three properties within the day

The head of property and asset management at Great Yarmouth Borough Council claimed the plans were to demolish all three properties within the day

The head of property and asset management at Great Yarmouth Borough Council claimed the plans were to demolish all three properties within the day

Fire crews were reported to have knocked on doors on Friday, urging those still in the affected properties to leave

Fire crews were reported to have knocked on doors on Friday, urging those still in the affected properties to leave

Fire crews were reported to have knocked on doors on Friday, urging those still in the affected properties to leave

Noel Galer, Great Yarmouth Borough councillor for East Flegg ward, containing Hemsby, said: 'I think that the decline when you start to lose parts of it would be quite dramatic. I have a feeling that Hemsby would lose its prominence quite quickly'

Noel Galer, Great Yarmouth Borough councillor for East Flegg ward, containing Hemsby, said: 'I think that the decline when you start to lose parts of it would be quite dramatic. I have a feeling that Hemsby would lose its prominence quite quickly'

Noel Galer, Great Yarmouth Borough councillor for East Flegg ward, containing Hemsby, said: ‘I think that the decline when you start to lose parts of it would be quite dramatic. I have a feeling that Hemsby would lose its prominence quite quickly’

Hemsby resident Sue looks out from her home on the cliff edge

Hemsby resident Sue looks out from her home on the cliff edge

Hemsby resident Sue looks out from her home on the cliff edge

Several other wooden properties, built on sand dunes in The Marrams, Hemsby, are also currently at risk of collapsing into the sea.

Noel Galer, Great Yarmouth Borough councillor for East Flegg ward, containing Hemsby, said the village plays an important role in the local tourism industry.

Tearful Mary Withey was forced to remove belongings from her home on the cliff edge

Tearful Mary Withey was forced to remove belongings from her home on the cliff edge

Tearful Mary Withey was forced to remove belongings from her home on the cliff edge

He said: ‘It’s the place where everybody’s children tend to go to get a holiday job when they are 16 in the summer holidays and when they’re at university when they come back.’

The councillor said there are ‘loads’ of ‘little companies’ there.

He continued: ‘You can just imagine with virtually no other industry or commerce in Hemsby, I feel that about 90 per cent of Hemsby’s economy is dependent on their tourism and if you were to lose the next bit of Hemsby.

‘It’s going to be very difficult to see how that holiday industry is going to continue to operate if you start chiselling little bits away from it.

‘I think that the decline when you start to lose parts of it would be quite dramatic. I have a feeling that Hemsby would lose its prominence quite quickly.’

He added that there are ‘precious little other employment opportunities’ in the area.

Residents react as they watch a neighbour´s house get demolished

Residents react as they watch a neighbour´s house get demolished

Residents react as they watch a neighbour´s house get demolished

Sue and other neighbours who spent the morning packing their belongings before the demolition

Sue and other neighbours who spent the morning packing their belongings before the demolition

Sue and other neighbours who spent the morning packing their belongings before the demolition

Several other wooden properties, built on sand dunes in The Marrams, Hemsby, are also currently at risk of collapsing into the sea

Several other wooden properties, built on sand dunes in The Marrams, Hemsby, are also currently at risk of collapsing into the sea

Several other wooden properties, built on sand dunes in The Marrams, Hemsby, are also currently at risk of collapsing into the sea

Referencing tourism data collected by the council, Mr Galer insisted Hemsby has ‘tremendous value’ in the region.

‘It’s so important,’ he said. ‘It’s difficult to stress how it would be if Hemsby lost 50 metres in a huge storm or a succession of storms over a week or so. It would be horrendous.’

‘Can you imagine that with a large number, a majority, of the bookings for Hemsby holidays coming from home grown areas in the UK, the incredible effect that might have on people thinking: ‘Oh crumbs, we were thinking of going to Hemsby, we better cancel our holiday – looks like it’s going to be closed forever’?’

Mr Galer added: ‘We could have a really bad year now as a result of bad news and people making assumptions over a few days when this sort of terrible thing is happening and lose a lot of business.’

Hemsby is largely built on sand, which provides little protection against the raging sea, as pictured here in January 2007
Sixteen years later, on March 1, 2023, any remaining grass was long gone and some of the homes had sand up to their front door

Hemsby is largely built on sand which provides little protection against the raging sea, as pictured here in January 2007, but sixteen years later, on March 1, 2023, any remaining grass was long gone and some of the homes had sand up to their front door

The only access road to properties on the Marrams has been cordoned off and is expected to collapse

The only access road to properties on the Marrams has been cordoned off and is expected to collapse

The only access road to properties on the Marrams has been cordoned off and is expected to collapse

The shoreline has shrunk significantly in last 50 years and coastal communities risk falling into the ocean

The shoreline has shrunk significantly in last 50 years and coastal communities risk falling into the ocean

The shoreline has shrunk significantly in last 50 years and coastal communities risk falling into the ocean 

On evacuated residents, the councillor said people will be ‘trying very hard’ to ensure they are looked after.

‘Some people literally have a second home which happens to be very close to the beach,’ he went on. ‘Perhaps they knew the risks and understood the risks, accepted the risks.

‘Others for various reasons may have found this is the only place they can find to live because of the cost and their circumstances and may not be so aware of what’s going on.

‘They may have felt there’s no way this is ever going to be washed away.’

He said that there used to be two further rows of dunes and that there is a footpath on the local map which goes out to sea.

‘You look at the map and think: why on earth is there a footpath going out into the ocean? Well, of course, that’s simply because of what’s disappeared over the last 50 years.’

Hemsby resident Sue removed the last of her belongings from her home on the cliff edge this morning

Hemsby resident Sue removed the last of her belongings from her home on the cliff edge this morning

Hemsby resident Sue removed the last of her belongings from her home on the cliff edge this morning 

Properties in Hemsby have been very much at risk in recent years with many properties abandoned as the cliffs continue to slip away

Properties in Hemsby have been very much at risk in recent years with many properties abandoned as the cliffs continue to slip away

Properties in Hemsby have been very much at risk in recent years with many properties abandoned as the cliffs continue to slip away

The properties were on the verge of going into the sea as some were as close as one metre

The properties were on the verge of going into the sea as some were as close as one metre

The properties were on the verge of going into the sea as some were as close as one metre

Homes sit close to the cliff edge at Hemsby in Norfolk, where the beach has been closed off because of significant erosion

Homes sit close to the cliff edge at Hemsby in Norfolk, where the beach has been closed off because of significant erosion

Homes sit close to the cliff edge at Hemsby in Norfolk, where the beach has been closed off because of significant erosion

Hemsby Parish Council is supporting residents who have had to leave their homes

Hemsby Parish Council is supporting residents who have had to leave their homes

Hemsby Parish Council is supporting residents who have had to leave their homes

He added: ‘Unless we have some kind of sea defence protection that presumably will continue, especially with the increased energy and the climate weather system that’s hitting our shores.’

Staff from the local authority have been on site alongside crews from Hemsby Independent Lifeboat Crew and Norfolk Police.

Hemsby Parish Council is also supporting residents who have had to leave their homes.

The Environment Agency estimates that 7,000 properties in Britain will be lost to the sea over the next century.

The Environment Agency estimates that 7,000 properties in Britain will be lost to the sea over the next century.

The Environment Agency estimates that 7,000 properties in Britain will be lost to the sea over the next century.

Coastal erosion typically results in a landward retreat of the coastline. This can increase the risk of coastal flooding and result in loss of land

Coastal erosion typically results in a landward retreat of the coastline. This can increase the risk of coastal flooding and result in loss of land

Coastal erosion typically results in a landward retreat of the coastline. This can increase the risk of coastal flooding and result in loss of land

Officials warned that the beach and surrounding area at Hemsby should be avoided

Officials warned that the beach and surrounding area at Hemsby should be avoided

Officials warned that the beach and surrounding area at Hemsby should be avoided

The beach road is closed at the Norfolk village where a number of residents have left their homes

The beach road is closed at the Norfolk village where a number of residents have left their homes

The beach road is closed at the Norfolk village where a number of residents have left their homes

Sudden coastal erosion events, particularly those in the vicinity of coastal cliffs, may directly endanger the lives of people

Sudden coastal erosion events, particularly those in the vicinity of coastal cliffs, may directly endanger the lives of people

Sudden coastal erosion events, particularly those in the vicinity of coastal cliffs, may directly endanger the lives of people

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *