Hemsby homeowner vows to fight on as house teeters on brink of crumbling clifftop

  • ITV News Anglia's Andy Ward reports from Hemsby

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A man at risk of losing his dream home to the sea has vowed to fight on, saying he had to "look on the bright side of life".

Lance Martin lives in the Norfolk village of Hemsby, where the county's coastline has been battered by high tides and gale force winds, resulting in metres of land falling in to the sea.

He said: "I think we’re on par with the worst from the Beast from the East.

"The wind is tremendous, the waves and the sea spray was worse than what was forecast and everybody is scrambling round here at the moment for a foothold, basically."

It comes less than two weeks since the village lost around 10ft of land due to winter weather.

  • Some of the damage caused by the storm

Local lifeboat crews said at the time that the loss of land would cause the beach to be closed for decades.

Mr Martin, who has lived in his home, since 2017, said he was now being forced to evacuate.

Emergency services and the local lifeboat on the scene

"We’ve been advised by the police and the lifeboat crew to leave the property. Yesterday we had the council down here and they measured the back garden and I had five metres of the back garden left, now... three metres has gone overnight.

"So not being a foolish person, I will do what we’ve been told by the authorities and leave the place and keep in touch with what’s going on."

The Met Office measured gusts in excess of 50mph overnight. Mr Martin said it was "too risky" to stay, but he said people were rallying to help him.

"The lifeboat crew ,bless ‘em, have been leading this. They're fantastic guys, I can’t praise them enough. They're talking about getting me a van or something to move all of my belongings out of the property with a view of hopefully coming back in the future.

"Fingers crossed. I’m that kind of guy - it might be foolish thinking, but you’ve got to look on the bright side of life and crack on with it."

Keith Kyriacou, chairman of Hemsby Parish Council, said the village hall was on standby in case people needed to stay there.

"There's been people evacuated from their homes. It's not looking very good at all," he said.

He called on the government to do more, adding: "We just want some help from the government. We're in dire straits in Hemsby."

He said that planning permission had been obtained for rock berm sea defences "but we can't get the funding".

Norfolk Police said it received a request for assistance from Hemsby Independent Lifeboat crew at 9.20am Friday morning.

A force spokeswoman said: "Due to the loss of cliff material in the recent severe weather, we are working with our partners to evacuate properties at risk in Hemsby. Public safety is always our priority and people should avoid the area."

Great Yarmouth Borough Council said staff from the authority would be on site "for the duration of the high tides risk period" and are "looking at how best to arrange storage and provide help to remove belongings from any homes that require it".

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