Caravan owners will have to pay to keep Hunstanton to Snettisham flood defences in working order

Flood damage at Snettisham after December's tidal surge
Flood damage at Snettisham after December's tidal surge
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Caravan owners could soon be shouldering a large part of the cost of maintaining vital flood defences from Hunstanton to Snettisham beach.

The long-discussed plan is expected to be formally consulted upon this summer as Government funding has been vastly reduced.

Michael McDonnell, of McDonnell Caravans, said the Government should prioritise investing in protecting Norfolk’s coast to avoid “a New Orleans situation.”

He said: “We’re not just talking about protecting the beach for holiday makers, but high-grade farmland.”

A report to West Norfolk’s cabinet said the area at risk includes 3,000 caravans, chalets and holiday homes, 600 homes - mainly in Heacham, coastal businesses, agricultural land and the A149 between Dersingham and Ingoldisthorpe.

Part of the area flooded in December during the tidal surge.

Brian Long is chairman of the stakeholder group, of which Mr McDonnell is part, that has formulated a plan for businesses to contribute to flood defences in the absence of central funds.

Mr Long said: “What we want to achieve is a system that is acceptable and fair to everybody that gets a benefit from those flood defences.”

Mr Long said he expected a proposal for West Norfolk Council, Norfolk County Council and the Environment Agency to jointly cover around 45 per cent of the annual cost.

The rest of the money would come from payments from caravan park operators, holiday home and land owners.

Mr Long said per person with a caravan in the area, it could cost around£40 to £50 a year to meet the annual cost of around £240,000 to top-up protective shingle banks on the beaches, but increasing defences would cost more.

West Norfolk Council’s cabinet will be asked to approve £50,000 towards maintenance next year while a system to collect contributions is formed. Norfolk County Council and the Environment Agency will be asked to cover the rest.