Suffolk's sea defences
As £7m of work is carried out in Southwold, the south prom at Felixstowe starts to collapse. The local authority is providing emergency work but says the government must give the town more money for a long-term scheme.
It's been predicted for months (even years) and on Friday 19th May 2006 the south promenade at Felixstowe cracked open. Rocks were dumped on the beach the morning after to try and prop up the sea wall.
It's known that the beach is being washed away - exposing the foundations of the sea front and earlier this year a £10m government scheme was due to begin, but was then cancelled.
The Shore Break cafe on the prom has been forced to close. Owner Steve Bloomfield is worried about his livelihood: " It's only in the last two weeks that we were given a guarantee by the council that we were secure for the summer so we stocked up and bought a new freezer. Now we're clearing out just ahead of a bank holiday weekend which would be one of the busiest of the year."
Felixstowe with emergency rocks
"We had an inkling that the problems were on their way, but you just get more and more angry and you think somebody, somewhere is to blame."
The Environment Agency was to contribute £5m to the work until the rest of the money failed to materialise.
Suffolk Coastal councillor Andy Smith says it's the government's fault: "We can carry out short-term measures but it's a complete waste of money. We need an extra £5m from the government because the council can't afford it. Out total annual spend is only £12m."
Further up the Suffolk coast in Southwold, up to £7m is being spent on the sea defence which has closed the beach from the south of the town up to the end of the prom just before stopping at Easton Bavants. Parts of the beach and prom are closed while the work is being carried out.
Work on the beach (which is a joint project by Waveney District Council and the Environment Agency) should be finished by the summer and work will then be carried out at the Botany Marshes to the south of the town.
Sea defence work in Southwold
The Southwold defence work's northern end stops just short of Easton Bavants - once the most easterly point of Britain until erosion meant Lowestoft took that honour.
The Environment Agency is in dispute with householder Peter Boggis, who's constructed at extra bank of earth and sand in front of the natural cliff. He says it's to protect the sandy cliff against the waves, and causes no harm. The Agency says he needs their permission to carry on with his work. (Watch Mr Boggis' BBC Video Nation film by clicking on the link on this page).
Easton Bavants with cliff and sandbank
The Environment Agency doesn't have a policy fixed in stone. They say priorities are changing all the time - some parts of the coast will be protected while some others where there are no human settlements will be allowed to erode.
With a limited amount of government money, local authorities across the country are finding they have to compete for a slice of the coastal protection pie. Felixstowe says it now has a clear case.
last updated: 16/07/2008 at 11:13
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