Suffolk mansion once worth £2m demolished as clifftops crumble beneath it

  • Watch Rob Setchell's report about the demolition of a mansion on Thorpeness' crumbling coast.

Demolition has begun on a luxurious mansion that was once reportedly worth £2m, after crumbling cliffs made it unsafe to live in.

The Red House in Thorpeness on the Suffolk coast was built in the 1920s, but it has now begun being reduced to rubble, brick by brick.

Once valued at millions of pounds, the six-bedroom mansion has now been rendered worthless and dangerous due to rapidly accelerating coastal erosion.

The over 4,000 square foot building's owners were reported to be "heartbroken".

A former holiday rental home, it boasted lush gardens and a hot tub overlooking the North Sea.

The owners of the Red House were reported to be "heartbroken" over having to demolish their coastal mansion. Credit: ITV News Anglia

For those living on the East coast of England, coastal erosion is proof climate change is already having a direct impact on their livelihoods.

The erosion is exacerbated by rising sea levels due to the changing climate, causing crumbling cliffs like at Thorpeness and Happisburgh in North Norfolk.

Next door to the Red House, neighbour Lucy Ansbro said she had lost around five metres of her garden.

The mansion was demolished brick by brick on Friday. Credit: ITV News Anglia

She said: "We always knew there was erosion on this coast but the speed at which its accelerated is beyond anything anybody could ever have dreamed.

"This village is magical. The people who live here are lovely.

"It's worth saving - and the village can be saved.

"We can save all of these houses but it is a lot of work and we all have to pull together.

"The Red House going is probably going to be a wake-up call for a lot of people - because it's not right under their nose - who are going to wake up and realise that it could happen to them."

Lucy Ansbro lives next door to the demolished mansion and is working hard to protect her home from the same fate. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Ms Ansbro spent hundreds of thousands of pounds and worked with the council to build a rock barricade, but it will need to be extended and strengthened or more of the clifftop community will disappear.

Coastal Partnership East, a management team, helps the worst-hit communities of coastal erosion and said the Thorpeness community's preferred option of a rock barrier is moving towards detailed design.

Some residents are frustrated at the time it is taking though.

Sophie Marple, who lives in Thorpeness, said: "I can understand that building a whole scheme that can protect a village will take time but maintaining what you already know is there should actually be pretty easy to do."

As the effect of climate change becomes increasingly evident, the East of England's coastal communities are desperate for action to save their homes.

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