Norfolk

Norfolk surge: Happisburgh house owner's 'stiff upper lip'

  • 12 December 2013
  • From the section Norfolk

A house teetering on the edge of a cliff in Norfolk following last week's tidal surge has been demolished.

Coastal erosion has brought Bryony Nierop-Reading's cliff-top bungalow closer to the waves on Happisburgh beach 20 years earlier than expected.

The tidal surge last Thursday, higher than levels recorded in the 1953 floods, left her house on the brink.

Watching the demolition, Ms Nierop-Reading said she "would keep a stiff upper lip but howl her eyes out later".

She was the last remaining resident in Beach Road after coastal erosion claimed the homes of all of her neighbours.

When she bought the house five years ago she knew that eventually the sea would claim it, but believed she had at least 25 years.

In 1998, Ms Nierop-Reading's bungalow was separated from the cliff face by a garden, road and neighbours
By Easter of this year, Mother Nature had left the property just metres from a sheer drop to the beach
The cliff edge was carved under her house during the December tidal surge on the east coast

'Incredibly sad day'

"It has happened more quickly than I thought, but I've said 'goodbye' to the house and later when I'm less busy I'll find a quiet corner and howl my eyes out.

"Meanwhile, we're British aren't we so I'll keep a stiff upper lip."

Friends and family helped Ms Nierop-Reading recover her personal belongings from the house, and for the past few days she has been sleeping in a camper van.

"It's a good job I enjoy camping but the temperature dropped to -4C last night. I am more lucky than people in Walcott and Hemsby who did not have time to recover belongings."

Now the foundations and flooring have gone, the house is a shell waiting to be demolished

She said she had been prepared to lose the house and had been negotiating with North Norfolk District Council about its demolition in April next year.

Now she is going to stay at a friend's house nearby while they are away.

"It's an incredibly sad day," she said, as the demolition team moved in.

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