Land at threat after government refusal

FRESH worries have arisen over possible loss of land, homes and an historic monument at Bawdsey after government refused grant aid for a £1.2 million project.

FRESH worries have arisen over possible loss of land, homes and an historic monument at Bawdsey after government refused grant aid for a £1.2 million project.

Suffolk Coastal council was told that there was no possibility of grant aid from Whitehall "in the foreseeable future" after the scheme was given a low priority rating.

Villagers at Bawdsey are so concerned they have launched a campaign to persuade government ministers to change their minds, and also designated part of their budget next year towards an emergency fund for the sea defence works.

Cabinet member for planning Andy Smith said a joint scheme had been drawn up with the Environment Agency to protect low-lying land, a Martello Tower and a handful of homes from the sea at East Lane.


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He said the scheme was "absolutely fundamental" not just to the immediate area but consequences of flooding and a change to the coastline could affect the whole River Deben, entrance to the estuary and north Felixstowe.

But now the council and the agency had suddenly been told that the necessary portion of funding from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) would not be forthcoming.

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Defra had changed its method of assessing sea defence schemes – and removed urgency as criteria for needing work.

"The likelihood of government funding in the foreseeable future for our part of the scheme and the Environment Agency section has suddenly evaporated," said Mr Smith.

It was a very real problem and a report was being urgently put together for next month's cabinet meeting. The scheme proposed had involved placing 28,000 tonnes of rock along the cliffs to keep the sea at bay.

"All we can say to people, both in the immediate vicinity and the wider areas involved, is that this council will do all it can to help the situation but has to recognise the scale of funding to do what is needed doesn't match the scale of funding the council has available, and there are some very difficult decisions to be made," he added.

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