Martello dream home
Richard rented the martello tower at Bawdsey for a year and he made a film just before moving out. The 19th century military building was converted into a dwelling and, in 2008, a plan's been hatched to protect it from coastal erosion.
Richard Smith and his partner rented the martello tower for a year and made a film when there was no firm plan to protect it from the sea.
The Suffolk coast is constantly threatened by coastal erosion and the stretch between the Ore and Deben estuaries is the subject of constant dispute over whether they should get further protection. There are four martello towers along this stretch.
The Bawdsey tower was bought in 1985 by architect John Fell-Clark and he converted it to a dwelling. It has two floors and a flat roof offering magnificent views of the North Sea.
In 1997, there was a huge force nine storm which lasted for 24 hours and wiped out all the beach that was in front of the Bawdsey promontory and some of the cliff.
The tower's been sitting around 10 metres from the cliff edge ever since. Suffolk Coastal District Council approved emergency funding and some boulder-style defence work has been maintained in front of the tower, but not to the south or north.
Richard's Video Nation film looks at the joys of living in such an historic building.
Sea defence work update
After years of worry, in September 2008, it was finally announced that a privately-funded sea defence project could be carried out - thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.
The East Lane Trust has raised the money by members who've sold plots of land in nearby Alderton, Hollesley and Bawdsey. In 2007, the government granted special permission to allow 26 homes to be built on the plots which aren't in the Local Plan as being available for residential development.
The money raised by the Trust has then been handed over to Suffolk Coastal which has tendered the defence project - worth nearly £2m.
John Fell-Clark said if the Bawdsey tower and cliff disappeared then the inland villages and other three martello towers would have been on the frontline of risk:
Looking out from the roof
"It's a feeling of huge achievement. We, as residents on the edge, are absolutely delighted.
"One lives in hope but we've had so many setbacks over the years where we thought we were at the point where the works would be done, where we thought we would get government funding and then there was always some hitch at the end.
"This time it has actually gone through and we know the works will actually be done."
Work is due to begin in September 2008. The temporary rock armour will be re-used in the new defences which will extend the works which were begun by the Environment Agency.
22,000 tonnes of granite boulders are being brought in by barge from Norway. Each one weighs around 6 tonnes and they'll be built to form a Y-shaped groyne stretching from the carpark to the north along a 300-350 metre stretch heading south.
"As far as English Heritage is concerned these martello towers should be protected," said Mr Fell-Clark.
"Without the East Lane Trust's input this would never have happened. I'd exhausted every avenue to try and get central government funding.
"It's a unique one-off achievement and it's to be applauded in every way."
The work will be done in time for the 200th birthday of the martello tower which was built in 1809 as a defence against Napoleonic invasion - which never actually materialised.
Mr Fell-Clark is planning to hold a celebratory party.
last updated: 03/09/2008 at 12:33
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