Multi-million pound plans to protect Hopton beach get green light

Jonathan Stratford park manager of Hopton holiday park next to the old coastal defences. Bourne Leisure have been given approval to install new stone groynes along the beach. Picture: James Bass Jonathan Stratford park manager of Hopton holiday park next to the old coastal defences. Bourne Leisure have been given approval to install new stone groynes along the beach. Picture: James Bass

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
12:44 PM

Multi-million pound plans to protect Hopton’s erosion-ravaged beach have been passed unanimously.

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Erosion at Hopton beach. Further north along the coast, sand is piled up at Gorleston. Photo: Mike PageErosion at Hopton beach. Further north along the coast, sand is piled up at Gorleston. Photo: Mike Page

Bourne Leisure, operators of Hopton Holiday Village, put forward the proposals to install rock armour, revetments and groynes along the village’s beach, after swathes of the fragile cliff were washed away in recent storms.

And their bid – described as “giving hope” to residents in the coastal community – was warmly welcomed by planning chiefs at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, who passed the plans without hesitation at a meeting last night.

Lennie Gent, chairman of Hopton Parish Council, spoke in favour of the plans and said the “vast majority” of residents supported the defences.

“This is one of the most important issues that’s been raised in Hopton for many years. The proposal made by Bourne Leisure are clear and concise and give hope to residents living at Hopton - not just those on the cliff top but in the village as a whole,” he added.

“It needs protection and Bourne Leisure can give that to us.”

The new defences, which will replace the rotting wooden groynes that are “no longer fit for purpose”, are expected to protect the beach for years to come.

And they come after Bourne Leisure spent £3m on emergency defence work this winter, placing 12,000 tonnes of rock at the foot of the cliffs to shore them up and using 20,000 tonnes of earth to repair the cliff top.

Cllr Hilary Wainwright, ward member for the village, echoed Mr Gent’s comments and praised Bourne Leisure for spearheading the defence work.

She said: “At a time when money is tight the kind of investment Bourne Leisure is prepared to make in this scheme cannot be underestimated.”

Cllr Charles Reynolds agreed and said the plans were an “absolutely fantastic investment” but spoke of his frustration that a private company was having to pay for the much-needed defences.

“That private money has got to be put in to protect the coastline is beyond contempt,” he added.

“The sort of income not only this holiday centre brings in, but Hopton to this borough in general, is incredible and I shall certainly continue to campaign for a better funding system for our coast.”

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