Suffolk

Suffolk coastal erosion: Thorpeness residents could pay more towards defences

Aerial view of Thorpeness Image copyright Mike Page
Image caption Coastal Partnership East will run a two-month consultation to seek people's views from 31 July

People living on part of the coast could be asked to pay more towards works to prevent further erosion.

Residents of Thorpeness, near Aldeburgh in Suffolk, contributed towards the £700,000 costs to put in geobag defences between 2010 and 2012.

But a "more sustainable" solution is required, particularly after damage caused by the tidal surge in 2013, Coastal Partnership East said.

A former parish councillor said people "willingly" contributed last time.

Thorpeness was developed as a holiday village in the early 20th Century.

Coastal Partnership East, working on behalf of East Suffolk Council, will run a two-month consultation to seek people's views from 31 July.

It said the public consultation, called "First step in how we manage an important part of the Suffolk Coast", will determine how best to manage the coastline.

Image caption Severe erosion in Thorpeness in 2010 damaged the defences and exposed a series of gabions (rock-filled wire baskets)

Karen Thomas, head of Coastal Partnership East, said there were a "series of storm and wet weather events" since 2013's tidal surge, which "increasingly eroded the coastline, not just at Thorpeness but also at a number of other locations".

"There's already a short-term solution but we need to look for something that is going to be more sustainable.

"People in the community need to have a say on that and possibly even be contributing towards it."

She said local government had invested £150m in the Norfolk and Suffolk coast through Coastal Partnership East for projects over the next 10 years.

Image copyright David Spalding
Image caption The tidal surge hit Suffolk's coastline on 5 December 2013 and Lowestoft was flooded
Image caption The 2013 tidal surge caused damage along the coastline - such as here at Easton Bavents near Southwold

There was severe erosion in Thorpeness in summer 2010, which damaged the defences and exposed a series of gabions - rock-filled wire baskets - built in the 1970s.

Members of the public paid £137,000 over two phases for the improvement works.

Former Aldringham-cum-Thorpe councillor Mike Chandler said there was "already a precedent" in terms of the community absorbing some of the costs.

He said: "It's happened before and that was set up willingly by residents who were affected by the coastal situation."

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