Scratby residents face £526,000 bill for sea defences

Scratby residents face1With the failure of the government to provide sea defences, the people of Scratby, like adjoining Hemsby and many other coastal communities, will need to dip deep into their pockets to help pay for sea defences if they wish to protect their village from inundation.

With fully effective concrete sea walls averaging £6,000 per metre, six million pounds per kilometre, there is little hope of a small community such as Scratby consisting of 135 homes affording such. And with the sand being steadily stripped from the beaches because of the supply demand of the pits left by offshore aggregate dredging, even major structures such as these are risk being undermined at the toe. Thus, lower cost methodology is having to be considered now that the most recent government ruling demands that the cost of defence must be no more than one eighth of the property defended.

Curve fronted sea wall deflecting powerful waves during a high tide.

Curve fronted sea wall deflecting powerful waves during a high tide.

Effective but costly concrete sea wall deflecting powerful waves during a storm.

The original plan was to install rock armour, such as already existing from Caister-on-Sea up to California, but plans for this had to be shelved when it became clear the estimated cost of £3.7 million was too much to bear.

The current idea, if approved by the Environment Agency (EA), would see 900 metres of gabions — rock filled cages — installed along the dune base at Scratby, extending from the existing rock berm at Little Scratby Crescent and stretching north to include Newport. These would be buried along the base of the existing sand cliff, and should provide a sufficiency of protection for up to 25 years. Without them properties could be lost to the North Sea well within the next five years.

While Great Yarmouth Borough Council has pledged £90,000 towards a £526,000 the gabion scheme, Scratby and California Environment Group’s (SCEG) campaigners who have long fought to protect local homes would also be able to contribute £2,000. But the local residents would then also need to stump up a considerable sum. Already a number of residents have agreed to put in their hard earned cash, bringing the total ‘pledged’ to about £100,000 so far. Not until the gabion scheme secures technical approval will the exact amount needed from local pockets be known as the level of funding from central government has yet to be discovered.

Anyone interested in pledging financial support towards the scheme can call SCEG’s Jim Bratton on 01493-731014.

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