Martello Tower boost to save it from sea

ENGLISH Heritage could consider jacking up a Martello Tower and bringing it inland to stop the building crumbling into the sea off the Suffolk coast.The organisation is increasingly concerned about the plight of the ancient monument at East Lane, Bawdsey, near Woodbridge, and nearby Martello Towers.

ENGLISH Heritage could consider jacking up a Martello Tower and bringing it inland to stop the building crumbling into the sea off the Suffolk coast.

The organisation is increasingly concerned about the plight of the ancient monument at East Lane, Bawdsey, near Woodbridge, and nearby Martello Towers.

The tower at East Lane is expected to disappear into the North Sea within four years if the Department of the Environment cannot obtain funding from the Government for the £1.5m protection scheme.

The Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) downgraded the priority of the coastal defence project and now the tower and two houses are at serious risk.


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Stuart Bacon, a director of Suffolk Underwater Studies, and volunteers monitor the changes of the coastline. They have studied it for 18 years and Mr Bacon said: ''Regarding Bawdsey, the North Sea influenced by a prevailing south-west wind does not like an uneven coastline. Bawdsey sticks out into the North Sea like a sore thumb. Perhaps the best answer is retreat.

''The Martello Tower could be taken down and rebuilt or possibly jacked up and transported to another inland location. I am no engineer but in this modern age often the impossible becomes possible.''

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English Heritage is to be asked by the district council if it can help to finance the coastal protection but a spokesperson said it did not fund coastal protection or erosion works.

''The Martello Tower at East Lane is a scheduled ancient monument. This tower along with the other towers on the east coast is of national importance to our heritage and it would be a tragedy to lose them.

''We will be working closely with the owner, the Environment Agency, Defra and the local authority, to discuss the way forward with reference to protecting and preserving the tower(s) and will offer our technical support and advice.

''English Heritage will be meeting with the Environment Agency and Defra to discuss the downgrading of the sea defences funding. With regards to the tower being 'jacked up' this is an expensive procedure, and technically may be possible, but something that would need to be discussed with all organisations involved.

''English Heritage, however, is keen to see this Martello Tower and the rest on the east coast protected – the £1.5m sea defence scheme would include protecting all the towers on the east coast,'' said English Heritage.

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