Man agrees to halt sea defence plans

THE man fighting to protect his cliff-top home from the ravages of the North Sea last night agreed to stop his work and apply for planning permission.

By David Lennard

THE man fighting to protect his cliff-top home from the ravages of the North Sea last night agreed to stop his work and apply for planning permission.

Peter Boggis was bringing in 24,000 tonnes of clay soil a day to replace the area where the sea has made inroads at Easton Bavents, near Southwold.

At a meeting of Waveney District Council's rural area development control committee, councillors approved a recommendation to issue a stop notice to prevent any further work being carried out until a full consultation programme is carried out.

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However, principal planning officer Tom Woolley told councillors that officials had met Mr Boggis and he was pleased to report that the council and Mr Boggis were now co-operating fully.

"Mr Boggis has agreed to stop all the work and make a planning application which will include a full environmental impact assessment," said Mr Woolley.

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The Environment Agency had originally given its support for Mr Boggis' project but has withdrawn its consent this week until the results of the planning application are known.

Waveney District Council solicitor Peter Cox warned members against discussing the merits of the project at this stage as it could prove "detrimental" to the planning application.

"The hand of peace has been offered to Mr Boggis and we hope that he will now work with us," said Mr Cox.

Councillors representing the Southwold area, Michael Ladd and John Goldsmith, said the situation was urgent and hoped that there would be no undue delays in dealing with the planning application.

After the meeting Mr Boggis said: "I will co-operate immediately with planning requirements.

"It will be helpful to have the co-operation of Waveney District Council provided time is not wasted in unnecessary procrastination as so often happens in planning procedures."

Mr Boggis said time was of the essence as any delay would cause the loss of further property and land which is "unacceptable".

"If the council decide to effect this delay knowing the cost it will be their responsibility to compensate for people's losses.

"I have started to endeavour to protect this coast in an affordable manner, in the interest of all who live here and the nation as a whole," he said.

Mr Boggis said he had stopped work half way through the first stage of the project putting land and property at risk from the sea.

He said he hoped that he would be in a position to complete the first stage of the project before the summer.

"I do not wish to inconvenience the few people of Southwold who have protested, but urgent and essential work must be done in Southwold's interest," said Mr Boggis.

A number of individuals, and Southwold Town Council, have expressed concerns about the number of heavy lorries passing through the town bringing the clay soil to the cliffs.

There have also been many letters sent to the district council praising Mr Boggis for his work including one from Reydon Parish Council.

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