Moveable homes idea in £9m project for at-risk coastal areas

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Photograph Simon Parker 18/11/09
Windy Weather and stormy seas pound the coast at Sout

Suffolk and parts of Norfolk will be one of 25 areas around the country to have pilot projects to deal with coastal erosion - Credit: Archant

Moveable homes and community rock piles are among ideas to be explored as part of £9million pilot project tackling erosion in some of the most vulnerable coastal areas in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Thorpeness, Southwold, Great Yarmouth and Hemsby will be the four key locations for East Suffolk and Great Yarmouth councils’ Resilient Coasts programme to develop innovative and long-term solutions to coastal flooding and erosion that can be used by communities across the districts.

Locations in Pakefield, Shotley Gate and land between Corton and Gunton will also be the feature of pilot work.

The two councils have secured £9.1m funding from DEFRA and the Environment Agency for the scheme – one of 25 nationally – with East Suffolk Council’s (ESC)cabinet on Tuesday night approving the outline business case for work to progress.

Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at ESC, David Ritchie said: “It’s a six-year project and the focus of the project is to develop solutions to achieve a resilient coast that can adapt to the challenges of coast erosion, flooding, and the increased challenge of climate change and sea level rises.”

David Ritchie, cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council.

David Ritchie, Conservative cabinet member for planning and coastal management at East Suffolk Council - Credit: EAST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

Mr Ritchie said while the pilots would focus on the four key areas, “the aim is to develop long term solutions for the whole of our coast, and we hope our work will be useful nationally”.

The council said things it would be looking at are innovative solutions such as developing moveable homes in areas at future risk, making infrastructure more resilient and better mechanisms to support clifftop properties which need to be sacrificed for managed erosion.

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Another idea is for community rock piles which can be moved into locations where needed. It hoped to produce a toolkit of options that would make coastal defences more integrated across the districts.

Karen Thomas, head of Coastal Partnership East, said: “Southwold and Aldeburgh will continue to be defended by hard defences wherever it is possible to do so, but in between those areas we have got a lot of coast that’s not defended.

“We need to give people real options so they can think about what they want for themselves and their communities going forward.”