Easton Bavents: Cliff-top house is reduced to ruins
After 80 years of standing determinedly on the Suffolk coast, a family home was today demolished before being committed to the sea by nature.
The cliff-top home in Easton Bavents could no longer fight the environment and was pulled down before its inevitable descent towards the beach below.
For decades coastal erosion has threateningly crept towards the doorstep of the 1930s two-storey detached, named Thursley after its designer’s home village in Surrey.
Siblings Andrew Thrawle and Sally Mitchell looked on wistfully as the building that served as holiday home to four generations of their family was reduced to rubble.
When built, it was intended as the first address of a sprawling new housing development, complete with tennis courts and swimming pool, but the outbreak of war put paid to plans and Thursley was used as a defence post until William Thrawle bought the property from the Government in the 1940s.
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It then sat 80 metres away from the cliff edge but Suffolk’s unforgiving shore has since drawn nearer, putting it, and another two Easton Bavents homes directly at risk from the rapidly encroaching coastline.
An emotional Mrs Mitchell said: “It’s a very odd scenario. This has been part of our lives for so long.
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“But we would have been charged many thousands of pounds had it gone as far as the beach. We had to knock it down before it went over.”
Mr Thrawle added: “This is something we have loved and cherished. It has been the one constant. To lose it is such a shame but in recent years we’ve had to make the most of it.
“We were lucky that it was a holiday home for us. For others in Easton Bavents it’s their only home - it’s tragic for everyone up here.”
In recent years, soft sea defences built by Peter Boggis, who also lives at Easton Bavents, held the erosion of the cliffs at bay. But his actions were ruled unlawful and judges decided the site should erode naturally.
When the Government launched the �1.5m Pathfinder scheme in December 2009, Waveney District Council was given money to explore and deliver practical solutions to the impacts of Suffolk’s coastline at Easton Bavents and Corton.
That included paying for demolition costs and exploring the possibility of relocating homes affected by the threat of coastal erosion.