Clock ticking on Martello tower

TIME is running out for a Martello Tower and two houses at risk from crumbling into the sea due to erosion along the Suffolk coastline. They will disappear into the North Sea within four years if the Government can not find the money soon to bolster the sea defences.

TIME is running out for a Martello Tower and two houses at risk from crumbling into the sea due to erosion along the Suffolk coastline.

They will disappear into the North Sea within four years if the Government can not find the money soon to bolster the sea defences.

Suffolk Coastal MP John Gummer has held urgent talks with Elliott Morley, Minister of State at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) after the Environment Agency (EA) said there was no money this year to do anything to prevent the erosion.

Mr Gummer said: "I was told by the EA that money could be made available next year, but this might be too late. The situation is really quite serious. No one is yet prepared to make the decision that there is nothing that can be done. All they will do is to keep the position in review.


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"It is crucially important that this piece of coastline is not allowed to vanish. English Heritage say this Martello is part of a unique section of three such towers."

The Martello Tower and two properties are at East Lane, Bawdsey, near Woodbridge, and a breach here would affect other parts of the coast. A scheme now costing more than £1million was originally approved but the priority has been downgraded due to the introduction of a new points system.

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Peter Monk, the county councillor for Bawdsey who is on the Suffolk and Norfolk local flood defence committee of the EA, said Norfolk members had agreed that a scheme could be deferred at Winterton to enable the Bawdsey scheme to proceed.

"We had negotiated to get the original shoreline management plan, which Government and Defra told us would be the guiding principle. We got them to hold the line at Bawdsey because of the strategic importance of it.

"Now we are being told they will not do it. They have changed the funding formula, despite support from just about everybody," he said.

Dick Hazell, a Bawdsey parish councillor, said: "It was all signed and sealed prior to the change in the points system. Martello Towers have had their points reduced to one per tower and before that we had enough points.

"We want to preserve what we have got and that includes the three properties there."

Suffolk Coastal District Council's cabinet is recommended at a meeting on February 3 to spend up to £40,000 a year to maintain the existing defences and to ask the householders and English Heritage for contributions. The council had been prepared to spend £100,000 towards a £1.5million scheme lasting 50 years.

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