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  1. ITV Report

Anger in Devon as community misses out on flood money

Evidence of erosion is plain to see on the coastal road in North Hallsands Photo: ITV News

People living on the South Devon coast say they've been betrayed by an official decision to exclude them from coastal defence plans which could stop their homes crumbling into the sea.

Today the government confirmed that more than £15 million is to be spent on defences on the Somerset Levels.

But further south there's no money for the community of North Hallsands - although cash has been found for neighbouring villages including Torcross and Slapton.

It's a great sea view but it has the power to destroy a community Credit: ITV News

North Hallsands has the sort of dramatic sea view many of us would love to live near but it's this water that's destroying this coastal hamlet and locals have been told that nothing will be done to stop it.

Last week residents were sent a letter from the Government Minister Oliver Letwin telling them nothing would be spent on flood defences here. They say it's insulting that while more than £2 billion is being found nationally for flood defences, their demand for around £10,000 is being rejected.

Compared with the cost of flood defences on other parts of this coast ours is a drop, if you'll forgive the term, in the ocean.

We pay our rates just the same as they do. We pay our taxes just the same as they do and yet we are told that we are on our own and the only way our sea defences get repaired is if local people raise the money and do the job themselves essentially.

– David Marcer Resident, North Hallsands

While sympathising with Hallsand residents, the local MP Sarah Wollastan told ITV News that improvements had to be balanced with financial demands elsewhere along the coast at places such as Beesands and Torcross where some homes are in immediate danger of flooding.

People living in North Hallsands will continue to fight for funding to protect their homes Credit: ITV News

The argument from the authorities is that it is more important to protect houses in which people live and I think that is the criteria that exists at the moment.

The Environment Agency concluded that this particular area was to be left to nature where dwellings are concerned further down, it's hold the line.

In other words we must protect it and that's the reality of it I'm afraid.

– Cllr John Baverstock South Hams District Council

People in Hallsands say they won't give up but they do feel as though they now have two fights on their hands - one with the Government and another with the encroaching sea.