Urgent call for sea defences after man's garden is lost to coastal erosion at Hemsby in Norfolk

A man who lives on the edge of a sand dune is calling for urgent sea defences after around 10ft (3m) of his garden was swallowed by the sea over the weekend.

Lance Martin has lived in his home in Hemsby, Norfolk, since 2017, but with the waves creeping ever closer, his time there could be running out.

A high tide combined with a large sea swell and north-easterly wind has devastated the sand dunes over the last couple of days, causing the beach to be closed for the foreseeable future.

Mr Martin, whose house is perched on the top of a sand dune, said it has been a "stressful" time.

"I've got a very positive mental attitude and I keep my chin up, you keep on smiling about it, but something's got to be done now.

"Not just for me, there's 92 other properties along here under threat."

Lance Martin's house is perched on top of a sand dune in Hemsby, Norfolk, which is gradually being washed away. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Determined to stay living where he is for as long as possible, Mr Martin has been building sea defences at the bottom of the dune.

"When you see the force of the sea, and I know I can't defeat it, I know I can't stop it, but I can abate it. I can slow it down," he said.

"On Friday evening when we had the really high tide, the wind and the swell behind it, we sat up until about 4 o'clock in the morning, just coming out every now and then, doing a sweep with a torch and making sure we're still here and the rocks were doing their job.

"I've learnt from that experience, so next time we fortify it I'll drop a few bricks at the front to shore it up better and make sure there's no points where the sea can squirt through and cause damage to the dune."

Lance Martin at the bottom of his garden which is gradually being lost to the sea. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The Hemsby lifeboat has had a busy weekend ensuring the people who live near the edge are safe.

Daniel Hurd, Coxswain for Hemsby Lifeboat, said it has given him sleepless nights worrying about the people who could lose their homes.

"We're getting home and, you know, our families can see it on our faces," he said.

"It’s sad you get home and are just sitting there thinking about it constantly. You wake up during the night wondering what's happened and wherever that tide's come in and caused more damage. It's sad.”

Carl Smith, Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said their priority was to make sure people were safe.

"We've got an emergency response in place and we're talking to the residents who are most affected here," he said.

"There are four or five on the northern side and about 20 properties on the left-hand side here, so we're doing welfare checks on them and making sure they're all ok.

"We're giving them the numbers they need in case they do need support through this time.

"The longer term, we'll be having meetings to see where we go with that, but our main concern at the moment is to make sure all these people here are safe."

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