Hemsby group dig for defences and funding to protect the coast

Undefeated by the government SMP declining to provide vital defences, the people of Hemsby and colleagues are doing all they can from their own resources to keep the sea from taking more homes.

Hemsby group dig for1

Digging a clump of marram grass from the dunes at North Denes in Great Yarmouth. Photos by James Bass and Stephen Mole

Hemsby group dig for2Over the May Bank Holiday period the Save our Hemsby Coastline group (SHC) and Green Party members, armed with shovels and collection bags, dug out clumps of Marram Grass from Great Yarmouth beach for transplanting at the depleted Hemsby Dunes to help re-establish the protection lost to erosion in the December surge. Surfers Against Sewage kindly covered the insurance costs.

The clumps that had grown over parts of Great Yarmouth were taken out with the backing and blessing of the Council, who felt that the growth was limiting the full long stretch of the acclaimed ‘The Golden Mile’ and would soon create a dune. They were going to have their workforce remove the dunes anyway, whilst the SHC were thinking of purchasing plants. Thus, a saving was made all round.

In the meanwhile the SHC are making a bid for £7.5m of government funding, to build heavy rock defences along a 2km length of Hemsby’s beach that will provide more solid protection against the pounding North Sea.

The DIY defence scheme — which has been backed by Great Yarmouth Borough Council — comes as campaigners from Save Hemsby Coastline bid for The group — made up of determined residents — has submitted an application to the Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) for the seven-figure sum, which would allow them to build sustainable defences to protect the Km stretch of sand from Newport to Long Beach. And they are forging ahead with plans to go after more funding by becoming a charity, a process they are close to completing. Ian Brennan, SHC’s chairman announced that the bid for charitable status was nearing approval and together with that bid should allow the group to take far greater strides to securing the beach for years to come.

To date the group has raised more than £24,500 — half of which has been spent on interim defences already. Whilst many future fundraising events are being planned, including the ‘Music Madness’ day to be held at the Lacon Arms from 2pm until late on Saturday 10th May, But such and many other events could never generate the large sum required, which is why CHC has been approached, which in turn will open the SHC group up to additional funding streams and allow them to apply for large grants.

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