Sea wall closed off to public

COASTAL erosion has claimed its latest victim in the region after a sea wall in Waveney was closed to the public following fears it would collapse.

COASTAL erosion has claimed its latest victim in the region after a sea wall in Waveney was closed to the public following fears it would collapse.

The wall stretching northwards from the timber breastwork at Corton, near Lowestoft, to the county boundary at Hopton was officially closed on Christmas Eve on the grounds of public safety.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said: “Following further storm damage, increased voiding beneath the wall and low beach levels, the wall was declared unsafe for public use.

“Public exclusion signs have been erected and the council is appealing to the public to avoid the area and use an alternative route.

“A detailed management plan for the frontage will follow as part of a joint study between Waveney District Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council in consultation with stakeholders.”

The grave threat to the sea wall at Corton was revealed in October when coastal defence officials predicted it could be eroded to the point of collapse over this winter.

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Waveney council has been forced to take drastic action because it has an annual sea defence budget of just £350,000 and has to battle for national funding with coastal communities from across the country.

Ken Sale, the council's portfolio holder for the environment, said: “The closure of the wall will be permanent unless some big funding comes in.”

David Butcher, chairman of Corton Parish Council, said: “I think it is regrettable that the public won't have access, but it is necessary.

“I can't blame the local council because it hasn't got the budget. The national government will not invest in defending vulnerable coastline.”

Further problems of coastal erosion at Corton were highlighted earlier this month when Waveney District Council revealed controversial plans to close the nudist beach there.

The council is currently carrying out a public consultation exercise after it said erosion at Corton meant the beach used by naturists should be re-designated for general use.

Last year, it was reported how new £3.5m sea defences at Corton, completed in 2005, will not be replaced when they reach the end of their lifespan in 20 to 30 years.

Forecasts showed that 40 buildings could be lost on the seaward side of Corton Road and The Street by 2055 and, by 2105, a further 60 properties could be claimed by the sea.

Waveney council is also set to apply to the Environment Agency for funding to carry out £2m of sea defence work along Lowestoft's showpiece south beach.

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