Homes protected by coastal scheme

A COASTAL defence scheme costing under £100,000 has been unveiled to protect luxury houses.

A COASTAL defence scheme costing under £100,000 has been unveiled to protect luxury houses.

Homes worth £500,000 and more are at risk if there is further erosion on the cliffs at Thorpeness, near Aldeburgh.

Serious damage was caused to the coastline during the storms last November and plans have now been submitted to Suffolk Coastal District Council for a “simple and low-cost” solution to the ongoing problems of erosion.

The aim is to stabilise the beach in front of the houses in North End, Thorpeness, by inserting 10 geo-membrane structures at 30-metre intervals along a 250-metre stretch of beach.

These structures will enclose existing shingle to form low humps with sloping sides. They will be six metres wide and sand coloured to blend in with the landscape.

It is predicted that shingle and sand will in the future obscure the objects. Stabilisation of the beach will also enable a modern form of “faggotting” to be used to enable dunes to be created.

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Faggotting involves making bundles of sticks and putting them in trenches with half their lengths exposed.

The application has been made by Sheila Moore, of North End, and the structures would be installed close to her house.

Stephen Hawes Associates told the district council that several metres of cliff were lost in the storms and 250 metres of land was damaged.

The engineering consultants said: “If this is allowed to carry on the sea may well attack the rear of the gabion area and lead to destruction of several houses in North End Avenue.

“These houses are presently valued above the £500,000 mark. So, for a cost-benefit analysis, the immediate risk is at least three such houses if not four or five, a value of £1.5m to £2.5m.

“The proposed works, which should stabilise the beach and prevent further cliff erosion are estimated to cost less than £100,000.”

The engineers say they do not approve of the construction of timber groynes which would be “prohibitively expensive” without Government financial support.

Stephen Hawes, a member of Aldeburgh Town Council, has been involved in working on coastal schemes for many years and he said groyne fields can cause beaches to be destroyed by reflected wave energy.

Suffolk Coastal describes the scheme as a major development and it has opened the consultation process before councillors make a decision later in the year.