Covehithe: Just 200 paces from peril
FOR the past 35 years, the Waddington family have enjoyed glorious views of the coastline from their property perched on the clifftop at Covehithe.But in that time they have seen too the effect the North Sea has had in eroding the cliffs around the hamlet, a few miles north of Southwold.
FOR the past 35 years, the Waddington family have enjoyed glorious views of the coastline from their property perched on the clifftop at Covehithe.
But in that time they have seen too the effect the North Sea has had in eroding the cliffs around the hamlet, a few miles north of Southwold.
When James Waddington, his wife and four children moved into Warren House, which is leased from the Gooch family on the Benacre Estate, they used to walk about a mile to the beach.
Today, after years of the waves ravaging the shore, it only takes 'about 200 paces'.
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Last month, The Journal reported how people at Covehithe, led by the son-in-law of Lady Gooch, Edward Vere Nicoll, were becoming so worried about the damage that they were considering funding their own sea defences to protect their 'beautiful' community.
The shoreline management plan (SMP) for Lowestoft Ness to Felixstowe was being discussed by Waveney District Council's cabinet as The Journal went to press last night. New policies looked set to be approved that aimed to safeguard vulnerable parts of our coast and prevent flooding.
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Even so, Mr Waddington said more consultations with local people were desperately needed.
'It's coming across that we as a community want this, but nobody in the community has been consulted on this and we don't know the effects this will have on visitors to the area,' he said.
'This is a beautiful area that should be enjoyed by all; people should not be kept out.'
Mr Waddington recalled how he used to walk the route from his property to the cliffs every New Year's Day and saw at first hand the devastating effect the sea was having.
'We were regularly losing 30 yards a year,' he added.
This week, he called for a proper meeting to be held at which people from Covehithe and the neighbouring villages of Frostenden, South Cove, Wrentham and Benacre could get together to have their say on any plans to defend their homes.
Responding to this, and to the self-defence idea mooted by the Benacre Estate, Waveney District Council said a meeting was being planned with interested parties next month. A spokesman said: 'The council was asked to comment as the landowner, Benacre Estates, was proposing some self-help defence works to slow erosion and wanted to meet with representatives of Waveney.
'Officers have been in touch with Mr Edward Vere Nicoll and intend to set up a meeting involving all interested parties in late April.'
At the cabinet meeting last night, officers were advising that the SMP be approved and that the policies contained within it should be adopted by Waveney. This would be subject to the approval of Suffolk Coastal District Council and the Environment Agency's regional flood defence committee.