Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024
Wednesday May 22, 2024

Family home teeters on the edge, ready to fall into the sea before Christmas



Happisburgh resident describes coastal erosion as ‘Cream Cheese,’ as dozens abandon properties amidst the threat

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As the festive season approaches, Nicola Bayless, a resident of Happisburgh, Norfolk, faces an impending disaster as her family home, just 50ft from the cliff’s edge, is on the brink of being claimed by the relentless sea. Recent storms, named Babet and Ciaran, exacerbated the erosion along the Norfolk coast, leaving Nicola’s three-bed semi in a precarious position.

Describing the coastal landscape as “cream cheese,” Nicola expresses her fears that her £375,000 property may succumb to the encroaching sea before the year’s end. The once idyllic village of Happisburgh has seen dramatic changes, with locals forced to abandon luxury properties as the coastline erodes at an alarming rate.

Nicola, 48, inherited Beacon House from her late parents, who purchased the property in 2001 when it stood over 670ft away from the cliff’s edge. The continuous erosion, coupled with recent storms, has brought the home dangerously close to the brink.

“We haven’t even got into winter, but as we’ve lost that much, we could be forced to leave in springtime or even before Christmas. It’s frightening,” Nicola lamented.

Despite the local government’s decision not to upgrade sea defenses, Nicola’s parents believed the property would stand for generations. However, the reality has been starkly different, with recent storms claiming significant portions of the coastline.

Nicola, a nurse, reveals the heartbreaking impact of the situation, saying, “It’s heartbreaking and it’s frightening if you let it take over your mind; it can get you down mentally. I’m not choosing to go and find somewhere new. It’s something I’m being forced to do.”

The threat of losing her home, which holds sentimental value as the place where her late husband passed away, adds another layer to Nicola’s struggle. The property, once believed to stand for generations, may now be lost within months, leaving Nicola and her children without a place to call home.

The local council has deemed Nicola’s relocation their “first priority” after the recent storms, but the financial assistance for the move remains uncertain. Nicola acknowledges the challenges of finding a new home, especially when the compensation may not reflect the true value of her property if situated on stable ground.

As Happisburgh residents grapple with the consequences of coastal erosion, the community faces not only the loss of homes but also the disappearance of village life. Nicola’s story stands as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of climate change on coastal communities.


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