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Holiday park evacuated after sudden collapse of coastal road reveals 'unexploded bomb'

A suspected unexploded bomb was discovered on a beach in Lowestoft, Suffolk, after erosion caused a section of road to collapse.

(HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
A suspected unexploded bomb was found on the beach at Lowestoft, Suffolk. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)

Visitors at a holiday park were evacuated after a coastal road collapsed to reveal a suspected unexploded bomb on a beach.

Emergency services were called to Pakefield Holiday Park in Lowestoft, Suffolk, on Friday night to reports a clifftop road had subsided.

A number of people were evacuated from their caravans at the park on Arbor Lane as a result of the landslide, which caused a section of the road to fall on to the beach below, leaving properties perilously close to the edge.

It is thought that high tides and strong winds resulted in the cliff collapse.

But there was another development at lunchtime on Saturday when a member of the public discovered a large device, initially suspected to be an unexploded bomb, on the beach at the base of the cliff.

(HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
The suspected unexploded bomb was found by a member of the public at Pakefield beach in Suffolk. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
(HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
The suspected unexploded bomb on the beach at Pakefield in Lowestoft, Suffolk. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)

HM Coastguard Lowestoft, East Suffolk Council and Suffolk Police were all involved in the operation to evacuate holidaymakers and make the area safe as an exclusion zone of 100m was set up.

In a Facebook post, HM Coastguard Lowestoft said bomb disposal experts carried out a controlled explosion on the device.

More Eastern England stories - click above
More Eastern England stories - click above

In its statement on Sunday, the coastguard said: "The team were out on and off during yesterday to ensure the caravans hadn’t succumbed to the cliff fall. Fortunately, they remained untouched by the tide and were safely moved by Pakefield Holiday Park staff.

"Unfortunately, the cliff fall or extremely high tide did offer us another surprise. A large metal object resembling a World War Two bomb was unearthed.

Picture shows collapsed front at Pakefield Holiday Park in Suffolk. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
The collapsed cliff at the front of a property at Pakefield Holiday Park in Suffolk. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)

"Fortunately, the device was made safe when EOD [explosive ordnance disposal] identified the object as an old minesweeping marker. A controlled explosion was carried out for safety.

"So after a dramatic weekend, but with no loss of lives or homes, we thank our lucky stars."

Yahoo News UK has approached the Army and East Suffolk Council for comment.

A cordon has been put in place along the clifftop and people have been urged not to walk along the affected area.

Visitors were evacuated as a safety measure. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
Visitors were evacuated as a safety measure. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)

In an earlier statement, HM Coastguard Lowestoft said: “The team were tasked tonight, along with a fire officer from Suffolk Fire & Rescue Service, to assess the situation at Pakefield Holiday Park, Arbor Lane, as this afternoon, a section of the road in front of the clifftop caravans collapsed on to the beach below.

“Some of the vans are now dangerously close to the edge and several people have been evacuated.

“The beach at the bottom of the steps at Arbor Lane, has now mostly washed away. There is now a drop on to what’s left of the beach.

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“We have cordoned off the steps this evening. The relevant organisations have been informed.

“Please do not use the steps at Arbor Lane until the authorities have had a chance to act.

"The beach there is now a dangerous place to be. Please keep well away.

“PLEASE DO NOT WALK ALONG THE BASE OF THE CLIFFS.”

(HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
Authorities warned people to stay away from the area. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
HM Coastguard Lowestoft is monitoring the situation. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)
A section of the road on a cliff at Lowestoft in Suffolk collapsed at the weekend. (HM Coastguard Lowestoft)

'Erosion hotspots'

At the beginning of 2023, 21 "erosion hotspots" were identified across the English coast.

The at-risk areas include seaside villages in Cornwall, Cumbria, Dorset, East Yorkshire, Essex, Kent, the Isle of Wight, Northumberland, Norfolk and Sussex.

The list of villages and hamlets at risk was compiled by climate action group One Home.

It said 2,218 homes were in danger, with an estimated total worth of £584m.

The UK government had committed to protecting 336,000 more properties as part of a six-year flood and coastal erosion programme from 2021 to 2027.

But a report published earlier this month showed the Environment Agency (EA) had reduced its forecast to 200,000 properties, identifying inflation as a major reason.

The report also revealed EA had removed 500 of the 2,000 new flood defence projects that were originally included in the government’s programme.

It comes despite the government doubling capital funding to £5.2bn for the programme.

Meanwhile, 203,000 properties already protected from flooding are also facing an increased risk because of a £34 million shortfall in EA’s maintenance funding for existing flood defence assets for 2022-23, the report said.