Residents fear after weather warning

RESIDENTS in the beautiful coastal village of Dunwich have spoken of their fears for their homes as another bout of severe winds and high tides is set to be unleashed this weekend.

RESIDENTS in the beautiful coastal village of Dunwich have spoken of their fears for their homes as another bout of severe winds and high tides is set to be unleashed this weekend.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for the entire country, including the possibility of 70mph winds and high tides.

The news comes as parts of the shingle bank protecting the nature reserve and the village has already been swept away, leaving locals and their properties more exposed than normal.

In a cruel twist of irony for the people who live in the beleaguered village, the scene of the beautiful river and marshes outside their window is the one thing which is in serious danger of disrupting their lives.

Frederick Goddard, 83, who has lived in Dunwich most of his life said the present situation made living in the picturesque village “very uncomfortable”.

He said: “I'm glad you warned me about this weather, but it just makes it more and more uncomfortable living here.

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“My son and daughter tell me to move, but I don't want to do that, not at my time of life. We have done a lot of decoration on this house, and it's our home.

“It's awful coming down in the morning and not knowing whether you are going to have water lapping around your feet.”

He added: “They had diggers down here a few weeks ago building up the bank, but it's all gone. That must have cost a tremendous amount but it was all for nothing.

“The way I see it is they spent all that money on putting up a bank just to save a reedbed but not life.”

“It's just my opinion, but I don't think that's right.”

Mick Palmer, a member of the Dunwich Parish Meeting and the Dunwich Coastal Defence Committee agreed, adding: “We have no problem with them saving the habitat of the bittern, but if you are going to do that then there has to be money made available to look after the properties of the people who live here as well.”

He added: “The breaches are only going to get bigger, and we'll be faced with this time and time again.”

Of this weekend's weather reports he said: “We are taking in two tides daily and there are two breaches bringing water in.

“When we look out of our window we are not supposed to see water, but there is an awful lot of it about at the moment.

“The weekend depends a lot on the wind. If we have a north easterly and high tides that will push the water back in and we are in trouble.”

“If they say they are not going to repair the defences then we are in some trouble.”

David Cook who also lives on the same road in the village was non-plussed by the possibility of another weather warning.

“Oh we get them all the time. Last time on November 1 we had water covering a third of the garden. It is obvious what we need is a bank.

“I think this last breach has caught them unawares. The expert said there won't be much change over the next 20 years and now I think they are worried because there has been.

“The changes we have witnessed have not been what the experts expected.”

An Environment Agency (EA) spokesperson said: “The system for determining which defence scheme gets priority is determined by a number of factors.

“The system is quite complicated, it is not that we are saving bitterns over people.”

She added the Met Office had issued the warning for the whole of the country and the EA would be monitoring the situation in East Anglia as well as elsewhere.

But she believed the forecast was for south-westerly winds which would not affect Dunwich and the north Suffolk coastline so severely.

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