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Norfolk: Bungalows demolished before they fall off cliff just weeks before Christmas

Norfolk: Bungalows demolished before they fall off cliff just weeks before Christmas

Demolition has begun on cliff top homes in Norfolk which were threatened by coastal erosion - with one local scrawling “R.I.P. home” on their property.

“Gone but not forgotten” was also among the messages graffitied onto the front of bungalows in the village of Hemsby which was battered with high tides last month.

Storms caused the collapse of a stretch of private access road, with a subsequent inspection finding five of the properties in The Marrams area of the village should be demolished.

Residents granted permission for the demolition, although some locals have raised concerns about perceived slowness over the installing of flood defences.

Simon Measures, chairman of Save Hemsby Coastline, who lives further up the coastline from the five houses affected, said the feeling locally has been fluctuating "from extreme sadness to extreme anger".

The homes were close to the cliff edge at Hemsby (PA Archive)
The homes were close to the cliff edge at Hemsby (PA Archive)

He said: "It's a day-to-day strain. I, along with everybody else, we live on weather reports. If someone tells us there's going to be high winds we really panic."

Mr Measures said the community is "close knit" and that on Friday someone posted online that one of those affected by the demolitions needed help moving out and 40 people turned up.

In the week since they were told about the demolitions, there has been "talking, crying and shouting" locally, he added.

"We feel like we're being picked off one by one," Mr Measures said. "Our life savings are in these buildings."

Mr Measures is calling for sea defences to be built which he said would protect 1.3km and dozens of homes - at a cost of £20 million.

Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, previously 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.