Options revealed to keep vulnerable Suffolk coastal village safe from flooding by North Sea

The fragile cliffs at Thorpeness Picture: MIKE PAGE

The fragile cliffs at Thorpeness Picture: MIKE PAGE - Credit: Archant

Residents living close to the eroding shoreline want a plan that provides protection to property north of the Headlands to 2060.

Following a series of extreme and unforeseen weather conditions in recent years, the current defences have been broken apart by the waves.

Consultants Mott MacDonald (MML) have assessed six options for the village - ranging from pumping ashore shingle replenishment material to building a 250 metre long artificial reef costing more than £3m.

However, they have already ruled out the reef due to expense, a 329m steel sheet piled wall because it could be dangerous and unsightly as beach levels lower, and also a large rock beach due to environmental impact.

What are the options?

? Beach replenishment over around 400m of coast, cost £1.24m;

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? A small low-level rock reinforcement at the base of the cliffs for 366m, cost £1.1m;

? Medium, low-level rock reinforcement over 391m, cost £1.49m.

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What happens next?

Following the public feedback, East Suffolk Council will work with other agencies to put together a partnership funding package.

The council said involving people who live, work on and visit the coast is important in ensuring people are aware of, understand and can see that their views have been taken into consideration about the future management of an area valued by them.

A spokesman said: "Our approach is to work with groups of local people to seek their help, local knowledge and comments ahead of sharing information with the wider community."

Experts say the Thorpeness shoreline is "relatively stable" compared with other parts of Suffolk's coastline.

The long-term average coastal erosion rates are low - about a quarter of a metre a year - and the general trend is for periods of minor change to be interrupted by spikes in erosion rates, such as large storms like the 2013 one which exposed the geobag defences and significantly lowered beach levels.

Consultation is now under way and runs until September 30. Drop-in sessions are taking place at Thorpeness Hotel and Golf Club on Friday, August 9, 5.30pm - 8.30pm and Saturday, August 10, 10am - 12.30pm.

Full details are available online at the East Suffolk Council consultation port

The report includes possible management options, design, costs, funding information and timescales. The report content and its recommendations will be revised based upon feedback from the community. Key statutory consultees include: Natural England, Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Environment Agency and Suffolk County Council.

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