Hopton cliffs to be protected by granite beach groynes

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Media captionThe defences are due to be completed by the autumn

Work has started to lay thousands of tonnes of granite in the sea off the Norfolk coast to create groynes to protect cliffs from erosion.

The granite is being carried in barges from Norway to Hopton near Great Yarmouth where cliffs at a holiday resort are collapsing into the sea.

Strong winter winds and high tides in December last year and January accelerated the erosion.

Caravans at a holiday centre and a nearby beach were under threat.

The owners of the caravan park, Bourne Leisure, and Great Yarmouth Borough Council have already spent nearly £1m shoring up the cliffs.

About 54,000 tonnes of rock, costing Bourne Leisure nearly £8m, are now being brought over from Norway to create new groynes.

'Waited years'

Steve McMaster, controlling the barge operation, said the crew will bring the granite loads into the area off the beach an hour before high water and they are tipped into the sea.

"At low tide the rocks are positioned accurately by shore-based crews," he said.

Jonathan Stratford, general manager of Bourne Leisure, said they were investing the money to sustain the business.

"The holiday park has been here for many years and will be here for many more.

"As a company we have to make a stand and this is a signal to everybody that we are committed to all our parks, their owners and customers.

"The work will take up to seven months but we are putting on a courtesy bus to take customers to nearby Gorleston so they can still enjoy a beach holiday."

Brian Hardisty, of the Hopton Coastal Action Group, said he had waited four years for this development.

"Hopton is not now going to disappear into the sea thanks to Bourne Leisure," he said.

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