Village set to boost its defences

WORK is set to start this month on a vital project to protect the vulnerable coast at Bawdsey - funded by building new homes in three villages.Government decided emergency work needed at East Lane was not a high priority for national funding and it was feared the cliffs, Martello Tower and two homes could be swept away and large areas of low-lying areas farmland flooded.

WORK is set to start this month on a vital project to protect the vulnerable coast at Bawdsey - funded by building new homes in three villages.

Government decided emergency work needed at East Lane was not a high priority for national funding and it was feared the cliffs, Martello Tower and two homes could be swept away and large areas of low-lying areas farmland flooded.

An innovative scheme was drawn up to raise the money with planners agreeing 26 new homes in Bawdsey, Hollesley and Alderton on farmland, with the money raised from the sites being used for the coast protection work.

“Suffolk Coastal has now received the necessary funds from the East Lane Trust (ELT) for the coastal defence works to proceed, which together with the unexpected and hence doubly welcome contingency commitment from the Environment Agency, means that the contracts for the work can be signed,” said council cabinet member Andy Smith.

“I want to pay tribute to all those involved, not least Gerry Matthews of the ELT and all the other members of the trust, particularly the landowners who helped make it all possible, for the most amazing community vision and courage.

“I am proud of the role Suffolk Coastal has been able to play in this project.

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“There can have been few ever examples of such close, effective and productive joint working between the community and the statutory bodies as this project, and it has been a privilege to be associated with it.”

Around £250,000 has been spent by Suffolk Coastal in recent years at East Lane, which has suffered some of the most dramatic impacts of coastal erosion.

The contract for the new project, which should give long-term protection, has been awarded to Dean and Dyball Construction Ltd. Work is expected to start on Monday September 29.

“The reality of the situation united the three parishes,” said Mr Matthews.

“We all worked hard to produce a local answer to the funding gap caused because there is not enough money set aside nationally for coastal defence work.

“These were exceptional circumstances and we have delivered a unique local solution which will deliver the vital coastal protection for East Lane and beyond.”

Is building homes to fund sea defence work a good idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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