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Plans to relocate threatened homes

PUBLISHED: 17:34 13 April 2008 | UPDATED: 12:43 20 May 2010

Housing, businesses and other key facilities in coastal villages could be relocated further inland if they become threatened by erosion in a bid to keep vulnerable communities sustainable.

Housing, businesses and other key facilities in coastal villages could be relocated further inland if they become threatened by erosion in a bid to keep vulnerable communities sustainable.

A new policy, which is set to be adopted by North Norfolk District Council within months, makes provision for buildings to be moved to sites further from cliffs if worst case erosion predictions prove correct.

And in a move designed to give the flexibility needed to combat the coastal changes the buildings could be relocated to land where development would not otherwise be permitted.

Last night erosion campaigner Malcolm Kerby, coordinator of the Happisburgh based Coastal Concern Action Group, said the policy would help maintain “thriving, healthy and viable communities.”

He said: “Authorities like NNDC are now in an extremely difficult situation because the government wants to walk away from defending our coasts. We need to be looking at creating sustainable communities.

“None of us want to be in this situation and it is central government that has forced us into this position.”

With sea defences in many areas of the district no longer being maintained, the council's Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) gives and estimation of the impact of erosion over the next 100 years.

In many cases the predictions show that villages could loose key parts of their infrastructure including, shops, schools and churches as well as houses.

The new relocation policy, known as EN12 and nicknamed Rollback, forms part of the council's Core Strategy.

The strategy is currently being scrutinised by the planning inspectorate and could be given the inspector's stamp of approval by the end of May.

It sets out an overview of how the whole district should develop in the coming years and sits alongside a set of documents called site specific proposals which detail where housing development will be permitted in each town and village.

All together the documents make up a key part of the district's Local Development Framework (LDF), which contains all the council's planning policies.

NNDC's LDF Working Party will meet today to discuss possible sites to build up to 26 homes in Weybourne, Overstrand, Bacton and Happisburgh and up to 50 in Mundesley.

The LDF working party is expected visit all the site later this month before their preferred options are put out to public consultation in June.

Mark Ashwell, senior planning office at NNDC, said: “We are not abandoning the coastline

“Within these areas we want to adopt a cautious approach to development.

“In some costal communities that could be affected by erosion there could be community buildings which become at risk and we have developed a policy that could provide these facilities elsewhere in the village. I emphasis it is maybe, it is not definite.”

Mr Ashwell said the Rollback sites could not be chosen at present because it was not possible to predict so far ahead what the communities needs may be.

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