Deadlock on sea defences dispute

By David LennardTHERE is no sign of a breakthrough in the deadlock between a council and a man determined to protect the crumbling cliffs near his home from sea erosion.

By David Lennard

THERE is no sign of a breakthrough in the deadlock between a council and a man determined to protect the crumbling cliffs near his home from sea erosion.

Peter Boggis, of Easton Bavents, near Southwold, is determined to start work again on the coastal protection project by placing inert waste material in front of the cliffs in an effort to slow down the rate of erosion.

He had previously arranged for 28,000 tons of soft earth and waste material to be placed in front of the cliffs, but stopped work in March last year when told by officials from Waveney District Council he needed planning consent and a full environmental impact assessment.

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Mr Boggis said he wanted to “avoid any risk of unnecessary controversy” and agreed to halt his work, but since then has been asking the council to clarify its reasons for obstructing what he sees as a “lawful” project.

He has consulted experts, studied the latest planning regulations and is convinced the project does not need planning permission.

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As a last resort, Mr Boggis said he would have no choice but to take legal action and seek compensation from the council.

But he had hoped a meeting with council officials on January 9 would have given the green light to work starting again on the sea defence project.

However, Waveney District Council showed last night no sign of changing its original position on the issue.

In a statement, officers confirmed they had met Mr Boggis on January 9 in relation to his proposal for placing recycled material in front of the cliffs at Easton Bavents to reduce the rate of coastal erosion in front of his land.

“The council understands Mr Boggis's wish to protect his land, but also considers that the environmental impacts of his proposals should be identified and considered through the appropriate planning consent procedures,” they said.

“In the council's view this would require the submission of a planning application together with an environmental impact assessment of his proposals.

“Mr Boggis considers that there are exemptions in the controlling legislation that enable him to continue the works without consents.

“These are legal interpretations and officers advised Mr Boggis to submit them in full detail to the council for proper consideration.”

A council spokesman added: “The council looks forward to receiving this submission from Mr Boggis that will enable the clarification of the legal requirements.

“The council has offered to take and pay for independent advice from a barrister to try to resolve the difference of opinion. The council is waiting to hear from Mr Boggis whether he wants to take up this offer.”

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