The demolition date of nine houses along the coast of Happisburgh has been announced today (Wednesday).
Contractors E.E. Green and Son Ltd will start tearing down the buildings on Beach Road in Happisburgh next Wednesday (April 11). The process is expected to take approximately twelve weeks
It comes after the completion of a lengthy process where North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) helped owners, who were under threat of losing their homes to the sea, to move.
And of the twelve homes identified as being under threat, nine were purchased by NNDC during 2011, under the government’s pioneering Coastal Pathfinder scheme – aimed at helping communities cope with erosion blight.
Campaigner Malcolm Kerby, of the Coastal Concern Action Group, said he was “delighted and over-joyed” at the progress made.
“I volunteered thousands of hours of my time and I’m pleased to see we’ve achieved some success,” he said.
“We’ve still got a long way to go with national policy though – which is diabolical.”
He added that those who had decided to sell had received 40 to 50pc of their properties’ market value out of NNDC’s £3m pot from the Pathfinder scheme.
The plan now is to create a public landscaped “buffer” on the cliff top and open areas will be sown with a wildflower mix.
On the opposite side of the road from the houses a new car park has been created and a new toilet block installed. Both the car park and the toilets, which will be managed by Happisburgh Parish Council and can be “rolled back” as the cliff-line continues to erode in years ahead.
The NNDC has also cut a new pedestrian ramp into the nearby cliff, providing direct access to the beach for residents and visitors making use of the new car park.
This is the last of the Pathfinder projects affecting this part of the village and NNDC will be revisiting the beach in the future to remove further debris as it appears and re-cut the beach access ramp as it, too, erodes.
Angie Fitch-Tillett, NNDC cabinet member for the coast, said: “A key part of the Pathfinder in Happisburgh is that it was developed and implemented with the local community; this is reflected in its legacy. With the parish council taking on the management of the new facilities, the new Happisburgh Heritage Group leading on the new village trail, the improved beach, the new ramp and now finally the demolitions and landscaping of the cliff top area, it is the start of a new era for Happisburgh.”
In addition to the houses, the NNDC is also arranging for the redundant RNLI and coastguard buildings to be demolished.
During demolition the area around the properties will be securely fenced off, with traffic moving to and from the site during working hours. The drivers will also be briefed on how to drive carefully in the village.
The three homes that remain in private ownership at the coastal end of Beach Road will not be affected by the demolition process.
Story by Donna-Louise Bishop in the Eastern Daily Press