Residents evacuated from houses on cliffs threatened to fall into the sea

A number of houses on the cliffs are in danger of falling into the sea at high tide, people are being evacuated and the situation looks “pretty miserable”.

Several wooden houses built on sand dunes at Hemsby in Norfolk are perilously close to the waves due to coastal erosion.

Keith Kyriacou, leader of Hemsby Parish Council, said he believed two or three houses had been evacuated so far and Parish House was on standby should people need to stay there.

Houses near the cliffs at Hemsby (Joe Giddens/PA)

He described the situation on the coast as follows: “It’s pretty miserable down there.

“There were people who were evacuated from their homes.

“It doesn’t look good at all.”

He said that “quite a bit more” dunes have been lost this week and things are looking “quite bleak”.

coastal erosion

A number of homes are at risk of collapsing (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Obviously it’s hitting the dunes now, and once that cluster of dunes disappears, you open up to a mass load of houses,” Mr Kyriacou said.

“We just want some help from the government. We are in dire straits in Hemsby.”

He said houses “could go (into the sea) this weekend.”

“We had high water this morning,” he said.

coastal erosion

Flood water cuts into sandy cliffs in Hemsby (Joe Giddens/PA)

“You could go. There are about two houses that are really critical and could go into the sea.

“Once they go and the other dunes go away, a whole load more houses might open up.”

He said planning permission for rock-bank defenses had been obtained, “but we can’t get the funding.”

“The lifeboat crew down there are doing a fantastic job of helping people,” he said.

coastal erosion

Hemsby resident Sue looks out from her cliff-edge home (Joe Giddens/PA)

Norfolk Police said they received a request for assistance from the crew of the independent lifeboat Hemsby at 9.20am on Friday.

A spokeswoman for the armed forces said: “Due to the loss of cliff material in the recent storms, we are working with our partners to evacuate vulnerable properties in Hemsby.

“Public safety is always our priority and people should avoid the area.”

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said staff from the agency will be on site “for the duration of the flood risk period” and will “assess how best to arrange storage and provide assistance to remove items from any homes that require it”.

Jane Beck, the council’s head of property and wealth management, said: “This is obviously a very worrying time for people who may be affected and we want to do everything we can to ensure the council provides the best possible support and assistance.”

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