Letter: Dick Melton March 27 2018
I read in the press where there is a new coastal management plan for Hunstanton cliffs and the promenade. The survey will cost £80,000. What will we see for it?
We have had many of these surveys done over the years. Some of the things mentioned were carried out but not many, others were just forgotten about and chucked in the waste bin.
There are approximately 706 tides each year in the vicinity of Hunstanton cliffs. Only tides more than 24 feet reach the bottom of the cliffs, unless they have a strong north west wind behind them. I estimate that only 100 tides out of 706 reach the foot of the cliffs.
Some of the fences along the top of the cliffs have been there since 1948-50. The erosion of the cliffs is mainly caused by rainwater running off from the grass area at the top of the cliffs. The last major cliff fall was 2,000 tons near the lighthouse in 1868. If the area at the top of the cliffs were land drained this would be a great help. Concrete revetments about 1,000 yards offshore would help to break up the incoming waves. Coastal management plans have been going for years and I have been involved with many of them. From 1986 to 2004 I was a member of the Wash Estuary Strategy Group, along with the late Mr Richard Searle, representing Hunstanton, so I know a bit about sea defences. I have worked on and beside the beach for over 40 years. In 1995 Mott Macdonald got in touch with me to ask if I would help them with a survey and a history of the promenade at Hunstanton. This I did and as a result of this survey, it was found that the promenade from Johnson’s slipway to the Kit-Kat was sinking. So in the same year, 1995, liquid cement was pumped into this length of the promenade by drilling holes in the seaward side to strengthen it. Repairs and modifications were made to the seawall and promenade between 2002 and 2006 at a cost of more than £15 million. This did not include the cost of the work done on the power boat slipway, £200,000, or the cost of the yearly recycling from Snettisham scalp to Hunstanton Power Boat Club. After the installation of the steel flood gates along the promenade in 2013/14 in my opinion Hunstanton has the best flood protection on the east side of the Wash. What is needed is a yearly maintenance of the groynes and a new slipway going onto the beach from the promenade near the old Kit-Kat site. The council said it would construct a new one after the old one was damaged in the 1953 floods and eventually removed as it was dangerous, but this has never happened.