Consultation on future coastal development

Winterton-on-Sea erosionRESIDENTS are being encouraged to take part in consultation on a document that will guide future development in communities like Winterton likely to be affected by coastal erosion.

It’s been drawn up jointly by East Suffolk, Great Yarmouth Borough and North Norfolk District councils, the Broads Authority and Coastal Partnership East and is intended to provide guidance to developers, landowners and councillors on planning policy along the coast, stretching from Holkham in the north all the way down to Felixtowe.

The latest version of the Coastal Adaptation Supplementary Planning Document, which was first put up for consultation two years ago, is open for comments until March 8. After that it will be finalised and is expected to be formally adopted this summer.

It contains information about the geology of the area, explains coastal erosion is a natural process and that measures to protect some areas can have detrimental effects on others.

But it in the introduction it says: “It is clear that many of the benefits we enjoy along our coast are at risk from coastal change, and that the effective management of our coast and adaptation to the effects of coastal change are of fundamental importance to the continued sustainable enjoyment of our coast.”

The document points to trends highlighted in reports including the Uk Climate Change Risk Assessment 2022 that suggest an accelerated rise in sea-level, milder and wetter winters, hotter summers and more extreme weather events like storm surges, are likely to mean more challenges to coastal communities.

And it warns that it’s “not always possible or desirable” to meet all the objectives detailed in various shoreline management plans, councils’ local plans and neighbourhood plans. These include avoiding damage, protecting homes and the economy or enhancing and protecting natural and historic sites.

According to the shoreline management plan, started 20 years ago for the Kelling Hard to Lowestoft Ness and which covers Winterton, the prediction is that a policy of holding the line would see little change. But managed retreat will mean the loss of homes and agricultural land, Waxham Barns, parking, Sea Palling lifeboat station and a huge loss of tourism by 2105.     

The new consultation document includes policies for rollback and relocation further inland for homes, commercial properties and infrastructure at risk from erosion and it features case studies up and down the coastline where properties and facilities have been moved back.

It is online at: while hard copies can be seen at the town hall in Great Yarmouth and Acle library during opening hours.