Bid to breathe new life into Norfolk church

Anthony CarrollAn appeal to breathe fresh life into the burnt out ruins of an 800-year-old Norfolk church is facing an important end of the month deadline.Anthony Carroll

Buy-to-let schemes for clifftop houses and the potential relocation of businesses are among the ideas being put forward as part of a multimillion-pound project to protect communities living around the Norfolk and Suffolk coast.

East of England minister Barbara Follett joined coastal councillors and environmental experts at the second Coastal Initiative Conference yesterday to find out about the projects which are being funded by nearly �5m of government grants.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) awarded money at the end of last year to local authorities in North Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney to push forward with projects to find out how communities can adapt to the impacts of erosion and coastal change.

Now the different schemes, which are part of a government-funded programme called Pathfinder, are taking shape in a bid to address the unique problems being faced by those living on the east coast.

Karen Thomas, a coastal adviser for the Environment Agency, said that options being considered to mitigate the effects of erosion included councils buying some clifftop homes and leasing them back to the villagers, so that people did not lose all of their savings, and relocating some businesses to keep them economically viable.