Cliff sea defence work halted

HEAVY lorries taking tonnes of earth to a crumbling cliff face as part of one man's sea defence project have stopped for the summer.Retired engineer Peter Boggis, of Easton Bavents, is trying to protect his property and other homes in the tiny cliff-top hamlet near Southwold.

HEAVY lorries taking tonnes of earth to a crumbling cliff face as part of one man's sea defence project have stopped for the summer.

Retired engineer Peter Boggis, of Easton Bavents, is trying to protect his property and other homes in the tiny cliff-top hamlet near Southwold.

Since the project began in August 2002 he has overseen the delivery of more than 50,000 tonnes of soft earth to be placed at the feet of the sandy cliffs.

Mr Boggis resumed the latest phase of his project on February 10 this year.


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However, he is keen to maintain the support of local people and decided not to continue having deliveries of material after yesterday.

"The support of local people for my project is very important to me," said Mr Boggis.

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"I said I would not have lorries continuing to deliver the material to the cliffs during the busy summer and tourist season that is so important to people living in the Southwold area.

"That is why I have stopped the lorries until the project resumes in the future," he said.

Mr Boggis has no plans to start taking delivery of more soft earth material until the autumn of this year at the earliest.

"I am reasonably well satisfied with the work we have achieved so far and I believe that the house most in danger of falling over the edge is safe for this summer because of what we have done," he said.

On some days as much as 1,600 tonnes of material were delivered to the site but it usually averaged about 700 tonnes a day.

The lorries taking the material to the cliffs could only reach their destination by travelling down Pier Avenue, Southwold and the car park next to the pier which is why Mr Boggis decided to call a halt during the summer season.

"There may be a few days more work to be done at the cliffs with various machinery in action but there will not be anymore deliveries for the time being," said Mr Boggis.

His scheme to halt the speed of erosion has not been without controversy and currently Mr Boggis is in dispute about the project with Waveney District Council.

Council officials are adamant that planning permission and an environment impact assessment (EIA) are needed before the project can be approved.

Peter Cox, the council's principal solicitor said expert opinion from a Queen's Counsel had been sought and that confirmed that the works needs both planning permission and an EIA.

Mr Boggis has studied coastal protection legislation and is resolute that his project can proceed lawfully.

"If I did not think that what I was doing was absolutely necessary in order to protect homes and property I would not do it," he said.

"I am very pleased with how the site is looking now as so much of the earth we are placing at the foot of the cliffs is covered with sand and blending in to the natural environment," said Mr Boggis.

The district council is still hoping that Mr Boggis will reconsider his position, submit an EIA, and applies for planning permission before resuming the work.

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