Buyer found for clifftop chalet

Byline: Norfolk Now

Going, going – and almost gone. A clifftop bungalow just yards away from oblivion is set to become a holiday home after a for-sale saga which also teetered on the brink for months. Kenrick, the three-bedroomed chalet at Happisburgh, hit the headlines earlier it the year when people from all over the country showed an interest in buying the blue bungalow despite its precarious position on a crumbling cliff.

An Essex woman will finally buy it this week – after three earlier prospective purchasers were put off by erosion of neighbouring land.Estate agent Nigel Hedge yesterday confirmed the sale by private treaty would go through on Friday for around 9500. It is considerably less than the 17,000 offer which originally topped the bidding in a sealed auction back in January, but nearer the price tag he felt was realistic for the chalet – whose lifespan is at the mercy of the elements and the condition of storm battered sea defences.

The buyer, a woman from Chelmsford, did not want any publicity, but was looking forward to using the chalet as a holiday home. Three earlier sales – the top bids in the sealed auction – had ‘fallen apart’ as the bungalow next door was demolished when the crumbling cliff made it a safety risk, added Mr Hedge. But a new campaign among villagers to get action over bolstering sea defences was helping boost confidence in the village, where he had also sold another chalet in Beach Road for 6000.

On Friday night the local action group is holding another public meeting to renew calls for help. Euro MP Clive Needle is being asked what European cash might be available for sea defence schemes, while officials from North Norfolk Council will also be quizzed on their long-running efforts to win Government funding for a Happisburgh protection project. Earlier in the day North Norfolk MP David Prior is meeting villagers to discuss their concerns.

Campaign spokesman Malcolm Kerby said: ‘We are concerned about Happisburgh but we realise this is also a national problem which needs one central body responsible for sea defences and given enough funds to solve the problems.’ Villagers hoped to find a way forward by a three-pronged campaign at district, Government and European levels.

Sea defence problems bring plea to Whitehall

Byline: Eastern Daily Press

The Department of the Environment is to be pressed to give approval for a major scheme of repair work to groynes at Happisburgh beach, at an estimated gross cost of £695,000

Members of the North Norfolk District Council are pictured inspecting the badly damaged revetment at Happisburgh.

Members of North Norfolk District Council coast protection sub-committee held a site meeting on the beach yesterday morning after which they discussed the matter in the council chamber at Cromer.

Mr. R.E.A Little said he wondered if they should write to the Department again and say that more damage was being done with every tide. “We need to put pressure on for a decision so that we can order the materials needed, as it will take some time to get them through,” he said.

Pressing

Secretary Mr. Philip Sage told members the DoE had agreed to the new scheme being treated as an amendment to an earlier scheme submitted to them, but the council was now awaiting the Department’s approval to the amended scheme. Members agreed that they should keep pressing for the go-ahead.

Mr. Christopher English, the coastal defence consultant, said in a report that both sides of a major breach in the groynes had been held with longer steel piling to prevent the gap from getting wider. The breach near Town Gap had been closed, and the concrete ramp, which was seriously undermined by sea action, had been repaired in concrete. The cliff toe between the ramp and the gabion breastwork was being rapidly eroded and this had now been sheet-piled and a concrete apron added.

Groynes

This was all that could be done as emergency work, and other repairs would have to await the approval of the major repairs scheme, said Mr. English in his report.

The scheme includes extensive proposals for reconstructing the defences to provide for a stronger revetment over a length of 300 metres, strengthening over a further 150m, and nine new groynes, at an estimated cost of £695,000.

After taking into account all grants from the Government, Norfolk County Council, and the block grant, about 15 per cent of the cost will fall on the ratepayers.

Mr. English said in his report that up to February 1st, the emergency repair work had cost about £89,000 nett.

It was anticipated that by the time all the emergency work was completed, the overall net cost would be £116,000, and the final gross cost, including resident engineer’s supervision and engineer’s fees would be £126,000. Again, some 15 per cent will come from rates, and the rest in grants.

During the site meeting members viewed the repair work which had been carried out and discussed the problem of cliff erosion. They were also concerned by the problem of oil on the beach.