Hemsby cliff-top homes demolition starts

media captionDemolition of the homes began on Friday

The demolition has been completed of the first of five homes at risk of falling into the sea after storms battered the Norfolk coast.

The chalets have been teetering on the edge of the cliff in Hemsby since Saturday.

Heavy machinery tore into the first chalet earmarked for demolition, razing it to the ground by Friday afternoon.

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said work on the other four properties would start on Saturday.

image captionThe chalets have been teetering on the edge of the cliff in Hemsby

A spokesman for the council said: "Following assessments this morning, two demolition crews working for the council have successfully demolished number 206.

"From tomorrow, the contractor, Anglian Demolition and Asbestos Ltd, will start to work through the other four properties in turn.

"Any debris which lands on the beach will be removed and disposed of."

Fifteen residents had occupied the homes.

Coastal defence plan

Eight other properties also at significant risk of falling down the cliffs after the storm were being monitored, the council said.

The beach below the chalets has been sealed off while the work is done.

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, who previously lived in Hemsby for 10 years, has visited the site.

He had said the private landowner of The Marrams, where the chalets are sited, needed to be involved in helping develop a coastal defence plan with the local authority.

The council said the cost of demolition would be discussed with insurance companies and a claim would be made to the government for funding.

On Monday, surplus sand will be transported from North Beach, Great Yarmouth, to fill the gap between the beach and the lifeboat shed.

image captionFifteen residents had occupied the homes
image captionDemolition has begun at the site where eight other properties are also at risk of collapse

At the scene

Andrew Turner, BBC Radio Norfolk

A week ago, everyone in Hemsby thought they had got through the Beast from the East - but then strong easterly winds came along on Saturday.

Coastal engineer Bernard Harris said the sandbanks off Winterton and Hemsby and the "Hemsby hole" - a 98ft (30m) deep depression offshore - allows the waves to build up and hammer this coast.

I think they have lost 20ft (6m) to 30ft (9m) of sandy defences in a couple of days, which has put 13 houses on the edge, with five or six now over-hanging.

The houses will be dismantled and pulled away from the cliff edge so they do not cause a hazard or an environmental disaster as they are washed away on the tides.

image captionThe chalets that have toppled are removed from the beach to avoid waste being taken out on the tide
image captionAbout 6m of sand has been eroded away in just two days
image captionDemolition teams arrived early on Friday to assess the site
image captionThe demolition team will dismantle one chalet at a time by pulling them in land
image captionBrandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, spoke to reporters at Hemsby earlier
image captionThis cliff-top chalet was put on the market for £45,000 in December and withdrawn from sale earlier this week "for obvious reasons", the estate agent said

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