Five homes to be demolished on erosion-hit coastline

Demolition workers are preparing to tear down five clifftop homes in a village hit by coastal erosion.

High tides and strong winds caused the collapse of a stretch of private access road in Hemsby in Norfolk last month.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said a number of properties in The Marrams in Hemsby were subsequently inspected and a decision has been taken to demolish five.

The authority said this decision, taken with the owners’ permission, was because the homes are “not structurally sound and are unsafe”.

The council said a demolition company has been contracted to carry out the work and it is planned to start this weekend.

Work will last for at least four days, as tides mean it can only be carried out for a limited number of hours each day.

Wrecking machines will need to be on the beach to carry out demolitions due to the loss of the access road, and material will need to be taken off the beach by tipper truck.

Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “While we have known for some considerable time that more properties were at risk from erosion, this remains an extremely difficult time for those people who are losing their homes.

“Our thoughts are with those affected and our staff have been working hard to provide support and welfare for those who need it.

“Unfortunately, continued erosion on this stretch of coastline is inevitable and we are working hard with our partners and other agencies to work out how we best adapt to the changing shape of our coast in the coming years.”

The council said demolition would be a “complex task” and access in the area will be limited, with members of the public urged to stay away from the beach for safety reasons.

Coastal erosion
A home that was previously demolished in Hemsby in March 2023 (Joe Giddens/ PA)

The access road remains closed, as does a footpath in the area.

The council said officers have been working closely with residents to offer support and housing options, and staff have been sourcing appropriate accommodation for those who need it.

While demolition work is taking place, work will also be happening to create access to remove a small number of vehicles and a caravan which were left behind when part of the access road was lost.