Hemsby: 'Unprecedented' summer high tides batter crumbling Norfolk coastline

  • More of the eroding coastline at Hemsby fell into the sea following Storm Antoni.

A coastal community say the damage caused by unprecedented summer high tides is "heartbreaking" to see.

The crumbling coastline at Hemsby, Norfolk, has seen the village fall victim to coastal erosion, with houses dragged back from the dangerous cliff edge over the years.

As Storm Antoni hit at the weekend, significantly high tides caused more damage to the sand dunes, with the popular beach virtually non-existent.

Locals say they have never seen anything like it, as the significantly high tides are unprecedented for August and are similar to those seen in winter.

Daniel Hurd, Hemsby Lifeboat Station, said: "I've never seen this in August. We should be out there today with the boat training and training the crew.

"Instead, we're focusing on trying to right this for members of the public, make it safer.

"We're just fighting a losing battle at the moment. It's just heartbreaking seeing it."

No visitors were allowed on the beach amid the treacherous tides on Sunday, which were at their peak around 11am.

Cllr James Bensly (left) said tourism could be lost without action, while Paul Lines (right), a fisherman, said it was a "disaster". Credit: ITV News Anglia

The cliffs are edging closer to people's homes, some of which have already been dragged back in recent years.

Footage from ITV News Anglia shows more of the dunes falling into the sea on Sunday, with the community saying they are devastated.

Cllr James Bensly, Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: "It's kind of emotional for the village, really, because we thrive on tourism.

"That's our biggest asset and without the beach, Hemsby is in danger as such.

"If we lose an asset like that, which we have now, the economy, the income tax, the revenues, the beach road and the knock on effect that that has is into the millions.

"So we really need the defences as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, local fisherman Paul Lines said: "Hemsby is a place that people come on holiday to in the summer months.

"They advertise the golden sands of Hemsby beach - it's not very golden here today and it's just a disaster."

Hemsby's emergency sea defences Credit: ITV News Anglia

In March, homes were demolished in the area, with another dragged back as its owner became desperate to save the property.

Around 2,000 tonnes of rock arrived in Hemsby in March as an emergency measure to protect the dunes and more people's homes.

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