Work to carry out temporary repairs to sea defences in a north Norfolk coastal village which was battered by last December’s surge has now got under way.
Talks over the future of the defence banks between the village of Brancaster and the beach are continuing.
And Environment Agency officials have insisted that no decision has yet been taken on whether the old defences will be permanently restored or not.
However, work on temporary repairs in the area has now begun so that footpaths in the area which have been closed since the surge, because of the extent of the damage done, can be used by walkers during themain tourist season.
Mark Johnson, the agency’s coastal manager, said: “We’ve been talking to people and understand how important these footpaths are both to local people and the local economy.
“Although a decision about the longer term future of the defences in both locations is still subject to further discussion, we are keen to open the footpaths to allow safe pedestrian access whilst these discussions continue.”
The repairs, which are expected to take around six weeks to complete, will enable visitors to walk between the beach and the village at high tides safely.
The stretch is part of the 93 mile National Trail route, which incorporates the Norfolk Coastal Path and the Peddars Way route through the Brecks.
The trails are administered by Natural England.
Patrick Saunders, of the National Trails, said: “We are fully aware of the Norfolk Coast Path’s popularity and of the local economic benefit provided by the National Trail as a whole.
“We are proud to be working together with the Environment Agency and other organisations to establish intermediate access in time for the summer seasons.”
The work follows a similar project to repair defences between Blakeney and Cley, which aims to provide safe access to the Blakeney Freshes nature reserve and was completed on Friday ahead of this weekend’s Easter bank holidays.