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Solo sea defence man defends project

PUBLISHED: 05:43 26 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

A MAN fighting the elements in a bid to protect his cliff-top home in north Suffolk is now facing a battle with planners.

Peter Boggis is having 24,000 tonnes of clay soil brought in to replace an area where the sea has made inroads at Easton Bavents, near Southwold.

A MAN fighting the elements in a bid to protect his cliff-top home in north Suffolk is now facing a battle with planners.

Peter Boggis is having 24,000 tonnes of clay soil brought in to replace an area where the sea has made inroads at Easton Bavents, near Southwold.

Mr Boggis has admitted that there have been some complaints from people living in nearby Southwold but said that his project was necessary to protect the environment and his property.

"The damage is negligible and there has been no contamination whatever of the adjoining beaches. There have been a few small complaints but I have had many people congratulate me on what I am doing," he said.

The operation involves approximately 40 lorries a day bringing the clay soil to the beach at Easton Bavents.

Lorries are having to enter the site via Field Stile Road in Southwold because of works being carried out in Pier Avenue.

Although the Environment Agency has issued a Waste Exemption Certificate allowing the work to continue planning officials at Waveney District Council want an immediate stop so that further consultation can take place.

According to a report by Christine Gore, the council's corporate director of regeneration and environment, the work "would appear to be in conflict" with the district council's environment policies and the revised draft local plan.

"The operator has been requested to submit a planning application but at this stage has declined," said Ms Gore.

Planning officials have consulted the Environment Agency about the impact on water quality on the beach but the agency has no problems about this aspect of the operation.

The work, if allowed to continue, will carry on to June this year but the district council officials are of the opinion that the project is not a waste disposal operation.

"It is clearly an engineering operation on a significant scale that requires planning permission and raises concerns about traffic, nature conservation, pollution, coastal erosion, and the landscape impact," said Ms Gore.

Members of the council's rural area development control committee are being recommended to authorise a stop notice "and all other appropriate action" in order that the correct consultation programme can be undertaken and different agencies, including the county council and English Nature, consulted.

Councillors will discuss the situation when they meet next week and are being asked to ensure that the development is properly controlled in terms of traffic movements, coastal erosion issues, nature conservation, pollution and appearance.

If councillors support the application and it is decided that Mr Boggis has been illegally dumping the clay soil in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, he could be made to remove the soil already put in place at the base of the cliffs.

Mr Boggis was adamant yesterday that his work is lawful.

"There is no way that this work can be described as construction and I have the authority to carry out this work from the appropriate authority.

"It appears that there are little people who feel their powers are being eroded and I dispute the claims being made by the district council," he said.


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