East Norfolk beaches are open for business after bouncing back from December storm
16:55 14 March 2014
East Norfolk’s popular beaches are ready to welcome tourists for the Easter holidays after taking a battering in the December tidal surge.
Recovery and repair work has now been completed and tourism bosses are reminding visitors that the sandy stretches are open for business.
The devastating storm that struck the county on December 5 saw the water height in Great Yarmouth exceed that during the 1953 floods.
But damage was relatively limited, thanks partly to flood defences holding, and throughout January workmen have been busy clearing waste washed up in the storm.
GYB Services Ltd, Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s operational partner, scoured the worst-hit three-mile stretch of shoreline, from Scratby to the harbour, and collected 833 tonnes of waste.
Much of the rubbish collected was saturated marram grass, mixed in with other debris including broken wooden planks and uprooted trees, and most of it has now been sent to landfill.
In Hemsby the council also demolished four chalets at The Marrams, which had been left uninhabitable by the storms, and sat broken and battered on the sand. Alongside this scores of volunteers turned out at the weekend to litter-pick the much-loved beach to get it back to its best.
And in Gorleston dented handrails and benches have been repaired.
Council leader Trevor Wainwright said: “The aftermath of the tidal surge was a big challenge for the borough, but the council, its partners and the community pulled together to ensure everything was swiftly cleaned up and repaired for the Easter visitors.
“This was a huge and important operation as tourism is worth about £550m to the local economy. The borough, particularly Hemsby, received national attention during the surge, and it is vital everyone now realises we are spick and span and open for business.”
Cllr Michael Jeal, chairman of the Great Yarmouth Tourism Authority, added: “Last Sunday was the hottest day of 2014 so far, and everyone is starting to think about where they would like to go for a holiday, or short break, especially during the Easter and summer holidays.
“So it is vitally important for the economy of Great Yarmouth and the wider region to get the message out that the borough – its beaches, broads and businesses – are still there and very much open to visitors.”