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Battered north Norfolk coast packs away repair kit for Easter as chiefs meet in Cromer to discuss storm surge aftermath

PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 March 2014 | UPDATED: 11:18 28 March 2014

Workmen finishing off the decking on Cromer Pier.

Workmen finishing off the decking on Cromer Pier. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

Progress in repairing the damage caused by December’s tidal surge and storm will be discussed at a special meeting in north Norfolk today, attended by a government minister and leaders and officers from affected councils around the county’s coastline.

The meeting comes as workmen screw down the final new planks on Cromer’s iconic pier, which was badly damaged in the storm, and pack away their tools until after the Easter and summer tourist seasons.

Long-planned repairs to the resort’s sea defences will also come to a halt early next month, until October.

Brandon Lewis, minister for local government and Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, will join representatives from Norfolk County Council, and the councils for King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, and Great Yarmouth, at an event hosted in Cromer by North Norfolk District Council (NNDC).

As well as a recovery update, representatives will also talk about the significant repair costs to councils.

In NNDC’s case the bill is estimated at more than £3m, only about half of which is expected to be covered by insurance or the government’s “Bellwin” compensation scheme. The rest will almost empty NNDC’s reserves.

Council representatives will be stressing to Mr Lewis that the government’s current approach to coastal communities at risk of flooding and erosion, which only considers the number of properties affected, puts small rural communities at a disadvantage. They believe the social and economic impact of coastal erosion should also be taken into account.

The meeting will also cover improving flood resilience and the government’s new flood support scheme which will allow homes and businesses to claim up to £5,000 for flood protection measures. The scheme will be administered by councils and NNDC will take up its role on Monday.

As a result of the surge, 152 homes and businesses along NNDC’s 45-mile coastline were flooded or damaged.

There was also significant damage to council-owned assets ranging from promenades to handrails, beach-front chalets, toilets, cafés and litter bins.

Work to repair the promenades at Sheringham, Cromer, Overstrand and Mundesley is mainly finished, as are repairs to the badly-damaged sea wall linking Ostend, Walcott and Bacton.

Sites at Sheringham, Overstrand, Cromer and Mundesley have been cleared of debris and repaired, ready for owners to rebuild their beach huts.

Permanent chalet blocks in Cromer are under repair and it is hoped that as many as possible will be ready before Easter.

■ Are you back in business for Easter after storm damage? Contact

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