Hemsby sea defence scheme scrapped days before Storm Babet

Villagers in Hemsby are ‘furious’ after hearing that the plans to protect the eroding coastline have been cancelled.

Ian Brennan is the treasurer of ‘Save Hemsby Coastline‘, an organisation that has been campaigning to prevent erosion for the past 30 years.

He described the situation as “absolutely heart-breaking”. But the council and local MP say they can’t afford to put any more money in after the costs rose from £15 million to £20 million.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council announced this week that it can no longer afford to fund a rock berm. In a joint statement with the Local MP Brandon Lewis it said:

”GYBC, Norfolk County Council and Sir Brandon have proactively lobbied over a number of years to argue the case for Hemsby – including meeting the Environment Agency recently. However, currently, the proposed scheme for Hemsby doesn’t qualify for sufficient Government funding to allow it to progress.

Report from Harrison Cable


Leaflet showing instructions to safely evacuate in the event of an emergency.
In March a number of Hemsby residents had to evacuate their homes.

This weekend, residents are preparing to lose their homes as a storm is expected. 

Save Hemsby Coastline have been handing out leaflets to locals with advice on what to do during the storm.

Mr Brennan said “in the last 24 hours everything’s changed dramatically”. 

“Five people have lost their homes this year, there’s one that is very likely to go this weekend. There are several others that are at risk because of the catastrophic failure of the road”.  

Orange net fencing fallen and damaged on the beach, with a sign that reads "crumbling cliffs"
Great Yarmouth Borough Council said they’re “looking at what funding and powers are available to try to avoid further emergency scenarios”

Local pub owner, Lorna Bevan, has been fighting the decaying coast for the past 10 years.

She described the atmosphere in Hemsby to be “angry, despondent and very bitter” this morning.  

Kenny Chaney, former fisherman for fifty-six years, has kept a close eye on his village getting smaller since the 1980s.

He said, “when it first started eroding, our hills were 35ft high, if you look at the hills now, they’re about 15ft high”.  

The Hemsby lifeboat crew are heavily valued. For the past four days, the team have been sleeping by the beach to ensure it is being monitored. 

Daniel Hurd, a volunteer for the lifeboat service, said, “we’ve not had the environment agency, or any members of the government come down here and give us any support or direction”. 

“They’ve forgotten about Hemsby”. 

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