DIY man's work helps, says council

PLANNING bosses who have tried to stop a retired engineering consultant from carrying out DIY sea defence work have admitted it helps their efforts to protect the coastline.

PLANNING bosses who have tried to stop a retired engineering consultant from carrying out DIY sea defence work have admitted it helps their efforts to protect the coastline.

Grandfather Peter Boggis has brought in over 50 tonnes of clay soils over the last two years to strengthen the sandy cliffs at his home hamlet of Easton Bavents, north of Southwold.

His work was halted by Waveney District Council last year, which said he needed to submit a planning application for the work and undertake an environmental impact assessment.

Nevertheless, Mr Boggis believed he did not need either of these assessments and continued his work - even after receiving a warning earlier this year from Queen's Counsel hired by the council.


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Now, the council and the Environment Agency have published a newsletter on the proposed coastal protection scheme for Southwold and the surrounding area, which says Mr Boggis' work has reduced the urgent need to build a new rock revetment at the northern end of the Easton Marshes sea wall.

The report, which will soon be available from the Southwold Tourist office, says: "The provision of a new rock/armour revetment has been deferred.

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"The urgency of this work has been reduced following the cliff protection works undertaken by a private landowner."

It added that the work will not be necessary until the recently brought-in material has eroded.

Mr Boggis, who lives with his partner Anna in house less than 100 metres from the cliff edge in the 12-home hamlet, was pleased with Waveney's acknowledgement.

He said: "It's nice to see that the works that have been undertaken at Easton Bavents is to the advantage of Southwold."

But Paul Patterson, member of the coast protection team at the district council, was quick to point out Mr Boggis' works still required planning permission and an environmental impact assessment.

"What he had done has removed the need for us to do something at the northern end of Easton Marshes but this is not corporate approval," he said.

Other changes to Southwold's coastal protection scheme, drawn up by engineering consultants Halcrow, may include emergency works to protect beach levels fronting the Easton Marshes seawall north of Southwold Pier as an assessment is currently underway.

Another is the new alignment and reduced height of an embankment at Botany Marshes to reflect feedback from local landowners.

The project still includes the reconstruction of parts of the existing sea wall and promenade, the replacement of existing derelict groynes with new shorter and more closely spaced groynes and the import of material to raise the beach levels.

If the scheme is supported by its consultees and is approved by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, work will start next August and be completed by May 2006.

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