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Happisburgh group hosts Broads meetings

PUBLISHED: 07:42 05 April 2008 | UPDATED: 12:43 20 May 2010

A TRIO of meetings in the next two weeks to give the public a voice in the debate about the future of the northern Broads will be hosted by the Happisburgh-based Coastal Concern Action Group coordinator Malcolm Kerby.

A TRIO of meetings in the next two weeks to give the public a voice in the debate about the future of the northern Broads will be hosted by the Happisburgh-based Coastal Concern Action Group co-ordinator Malcolm Kerby.

As reported last week, a government proposal could see at least six villages, hundreds of homes, thousands of acres of farmland and some of Norfolk's top wildlife sites wiped off the map in the coming decades.

Proposals which would involve the flooding of 25 sq miles (6,500 hectares) of the Broads would see the likes of Eccles, Sea Palling, Waxham, Horsey, Hickling and Potter Heigham lost to the sea.

The plan - which is just one of several future possibilities - has already been discussed behind closed doors at a conference in Norwich on climate change, organised by Natural England and attended by representatives of the Environment Agency, Broads Authority and Norfolk County Council, plus other organisations

But the public needed a forum to make their feelings known, said Mr Kerby.

Although some people might perceive CCAG as a Happisburgh-based group with a main focus on cliff erosion, it had built up a reach into several government departments and was now an internationally recognised body.

"We need to strike while the iron is hot and give people the chance to say their piece,"said Mr Kerby. We need to try and get an air of calm back to proceedings and explain to people that horrendous though this proposal may be, it is purely the wish list of a government quango, a quango which does not have the ultimate power to put it in place.

"We cannot let them keep banging on about this without consulting with the stakeholders, which means us.

These meetings will be in-house gatherings for the wider family of north east Norfolk to gather and discuss, there will ne no constraints, no officialdom, an uninhibited discussion."

Mr Kerby said people needed to vent their anger at the authorities responsible for shaping coastal defence policy - Defra, the Environment Agency and Natural England.

The meetings will be held at St Mary's Church in Hickling on April 8; Potter Heigham village hall on April 9; and Sea Palling village hall on April 15. All meetings start at 7.30pm and will be open forums.

For more details visit www.happisburgh.org.uk

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