Views to be sought on ways to protect fragile cliffs on Suffolk coast

The fragile cliffs at Thorpeness Picture: MIKE PAGE

The fragile cliffs at Thorpeness Picture: MIKE PAGE - Credit: Archant

Damage to sea defences at Thorpeness has prompted a consultation exercise ahead of fresh proposals to protect the village’s eroding coastline.

Following a series of extreme and unforeseen weather conditions in recent years, the defences have been broken apart by the waves.

Residents recently spoke of their fears over the safety the area, which is near to where a man died just over two years ago.

The death of Brendan Lavery when part of a cliff collapsed on him in Thorpeness in January 2017 led to increased efforts to protect the coast from the onset of rising sea levels and erosion.

But there are now further concerns about the stability of the cliff face after bags filled with sand and shingle (known as geobags) and large metal cages of rocks (gabions) - placed in front of the cliffs to protect them from erosion - started to fall apart.

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East Suffolk Council (ESC) has found that the geobags over the northern 50 metres have deteriorated at a more rapid rate than the design anticipated, after exposure to severe erosion and abrasion pressure during the adverse weather conditions over the last few years, since their installation. The remaining 250m though is performing well.

Gabions installed in 1975, which sit above the geobags over the northern 200m, have also begun to deteriorate - most significantly at the northern end.

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Now local people are to be asked for their views on how to manage the coastline. A public consultation titled 'First step in how we manage an important part of the Suffolk Coast' is being launched by Coastal Partnership East on behalf of ESC, to determine how best to manage it going forward.

David Ritchie, cabinet member for planning and coastal management, said: "Before any decisions are made on the issue, a public consultation will be launched to ask the public for their views. This is a great opportunity for the community to get involved and make a positive impact on the future of the coast at Thorpeness."

The consultation will run from July 31 until September 30 with drop-in sessions at Thorpeness Hotel and Golf Club on Friday, August 9, 5.30pm - 8.30pm and Saturday, August 10, 10am - 12.30pm. Full details and a questionnaire will available online at from July 31.

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