Norfolk's Hemsby Beach could could be closed for years as erosion eats away at coast

  • Drone footage by Terry Harris

A popular beach has been closed this weekend, and could remain closed for decades, as erosion threatens houses and businesses on its coastline.

The beach at Hemsby in Norfolk was closed by the local volunteer lifeboat crew after losing 10ft (3m) of land in just two days.

The sea has been claiming land and homes from the village for several years but a further two bungalows are now at risk and the lifeboat cannot launch because a 9ft sheer drop has emerged on the beach.

Hemsby beach, seven miles north of Great Yarmouth, attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Daniel Hurd, coxswain of Hemsby Lifeboat, said he was furious the “horrendous” situation was continuing with no end in sight.

He said: “We knew we were going to get some washed away this year but now the beach is going to have to stay shut permanently.

“Unless the authorities get the ball rolling, we’re probably looking at another 20 years before the beach opens.”

Mr Hurd said the beach had been so badly affected by erosion that concrete debris from Second World War invasion defences had resurfaced.

The beach at Hemsby is closed off because of significant erosion Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

He added: “We’ve all got families, we’re all volunteers, none of us get paid, but every time something happens down here it seems to be the lifeboat crew at the head of it.

“We get no-one down here to check or give us some sort of support.

“We get nothing.

“It was us putting the calls in to try and get temporary accommodation for people if they lose their property.

“It was us ringing power networks to get power lines taken down and removed from the properties at risk.”

Chris Batten, the crew’s secretary and helmsman, said the damage was caused by the cumulative effects of multiple high tides and strong winds, rather than an especially strong storm surge.

He said: “There are two specific properties that are at greatest risk.

“One of the families has already evacuated and the other is still there.

“The crew were all on stand-by last night and we were down the station doing patrols of the area every 30 minutes to make sure the residents were safe and well.”

A warning on the cliffs at Hemsby Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Keith Kyriacou, 57, chairman of Hemsby Parish Council, urged the Government to step in to help the village survive.

He said: “The beach is in a terrible state. It is in a bad way.

“We’re just so desperate for the Government to help us out here.

“We’re losing our beach and our beach is our main income in the summer with the tourists and holidaymakers – 85% of our income is from tourists and we just want the Government to help us, but we don’t seem to be getting anywhere fast.”

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