Norfolk

Hemsby tidal surge community get new sea defences

Hemsby sea defences
Image caption Concrete blocks forming honeycomb sea defences have been built into the dunes at Hemsby

Sea defences have been built to protect a Norfolk coastal village where homes were swept away during a tidal surge.

Honeycombed-shaped concrete blocks have been placed in dunes at Hemsby, near Great Yarmouth, after the surge in December 2013.

They cover a stretch of about 361ft (110m) and provide up to 50 years of protection but about 0.9miles (1.5km) of defences are needed, residents said.

Residents plan to secure further funding for more sea defences.

The honeycombed-shaped concrete blocks were funded from £70,000 residents had raised and £50,000 from Norfolk County Council.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Steve Connelly's home at Hemsby was destroyed by the sea surge and he moved to Yorkshire

Ian Brennan, from Save Hemsby Coastline, said £3m would be needed to complete the defences but it was "unrealistic" for the residents to raise that amount themselves.

Three properties were washed away by the sea at Hemsby and four more were badly damaged during the winter storms.

Steve and Jackie Connelly moved to Yorkshire after their house at Hemsby fell into the sea.

The couple re-visited the battered site of their former home for a BBC documentary and Mrs Connelly, said "It's not easy coming back" and added she would not return again.

The county council has awarded £250,000 to sea defence schemes along the coast following the tidal surge.

It has given funds to beach recharge schemes, rock replacements and repair projects in areas including Snettisham, Ostend and Wells Harbour Quay.

Dr Marie Strong, chair of the coastal flooding working group that visited the worst affected communities last month, said: "We were able to see first-hand the difference these successful projects have made to protecting the local environment."

Image caption Steve and Jackie Connelly's house at Hemsby was claimed by the sea during the tidal surge in December 2013
Image caption Jackie Connelly on the night of the tidal surge being comforted by her fellow Hemsby residents

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