Families living on crumbling cliff edge demand action from No 10 as they claim government has abandoned them after dozens of homes are lost to the sea

Families living on a crumbling cliff edge are demanding action from Downing Street, claiming the government has given up after dozens of homes were lost to the sea.

Dozens of homes along the coastline in Hemsby, Norfolk, have been demolished in recent months after high tides and strong winds caused the collapse of a stretch of private access road.

Pictures in October showed houses dangerously close to tipping over the edge, prompting Great Yarmouth Council to call in demolition workers.

Five were demolished when the local authority explained the decision, taken with the owners’ consent, was because the houses were ‘not structurally sound and unsafe.

The Save Hemsby Coastline (SHC) campaign group will today hand in a 17,000-strong petition to 10 Downing Street calling for action.

Dozens of homes along the coastline in Hemsby, Norfolk, have been demolished in recent months after high tides and strong winds caused the collapse of a stretch of private access road.

Dozens of homes along the coastline in Hemsby, Norfolk, have been demolished in recent months after high tides and strong winds caused the collapse of a stretch of private access road.

Ian Brennan, treasurer of campaign group Save Hemsby Coastline, said people in the town were at risk of becoming environmental refugees.

Ian Brennan, treasurer of campaign group Save Hemsby Coastline, said people in the town were at risk of becoming environmental refugees.

SHC also claim that their local MP Sir Brandon Lewis has ‘let them down’ in their bid to secure between £15m and £20m for a 1.3km coastal defense scheme.

SHC treasurer Ian Brennan said: ‘The people of Hemsby are at risk of becoming environmental refugees unless something is done to save the town.

‘It’s a scary situation we find ourselves in and anyone directly affected along the sea front knows that losing your home is life-changing.’

Residents learned last October that despite approved planning permission and licenses for a sea berm – a granite rock defense – no money is being allocated for it.

Costs have risen with inflation and the Norfolk village does not meet the criteria for ‘adequate government funding’ which looks mainly at residential properties.

In their petition’s cover letter, SHC argues that the coastal town and seaside resort puts £80m into Norfolk’s economy every year.

The petition asks the government to take urgent action to install sea defenses and take into account tourism and hospitality.

Planning permission was granted in 2023 for the seawall which would be 1.3km and cost the town between £15m and £20m.

Residents learned last October that despite approved planning permission and licenses for a sea berm - a granite rock defense - no money is being allocated for it

Residents learned last October that despite approved planning permission and licenses for a sea berm – a granite rock defense – no money is being allocated for it

Pictures in October showed homes dangerously close to tipping over the edge, prompting Great Yarmouth Council to call in demolition workers

Pictures in October showed homes dangerously close to tipping over the edge, prompting Great Yarmouth Council to call in demolition workers

Five were demolished when the local authority explained the decision, taken with the owners' consent, was because the houses were 'not structurally sound and unsafe'

Five were demolished when the local authority explained the decision, taken with the owners’ consent, was because the houses were ‘not structurally sound and unsafe’

The group said more than 120 homes in Hemsby were under threat in the next 20 years, but the village had lost ten in the past 12 months alone.

The group said more than 120 homes in Hemsby were under threat in the next 20 years, but the town had lost ten in the past 12 months alone.

Graffiti scrawled on one house read 'RIP house' and 'Gone but not forgotten' before it was torn down just weeks before Christmas

Graffiti scrawled on one house read ‘RIP house’ and ‘Gone but not forgotten’ before it was torn down just weeks before Christmas

Simon Measures, the chairman of the campaign group, said the future in Hemsby was ‘one of decline’ if the Government and Environment Agency refused to help.

Mr Measures, 51, said: ‘Brandon Lewis and the Government have abandoned us to the North Sea with no plan B and no funding.

“We said to Sir Brandon’s office: ‘Pick a date that Mr. Lewis can attend because we want him to be there, given his support in our campaign’.

‘His office picked the date for us and now we find out he has a previous engagement.

“I think that’s a big excuse – the petition has nothing to do with him because we had to go through his parliamentary assistant to get it to Number 10.

“We haven’t heard much from him in the last few years, but before that he was actually helping – it’s hard.”

Sir Brandon Lewis MP responded to his critics.

He said: ‘The situation in Hemsby is extremely difficult.

‘I have supported Save Hemsby Coastline since their inception, including fundraising for them.

An aerial view of the beach chalet being demolished by workers before it crashes onto the sea cliff on The Marrams at Hemsby Beach

An aerial view of the beach chalet being demolished by workers before it crashes onto the sea cliff on The Marrams at Hemsby Beach

Demolition workers are tearing down the first of five houses on the cliff in the village of Hemsby which have been hit by coastal erosion

Demolition workers are tearing down the first of five houses on the cliff in the village of Hemsby which have been hit by coastal erosion

The petition calls on the government to take urgent action to install sea defenses and to consider tourism and hospitality (Photo: A house being demolished)

The petition calls on the government to take urgent action to install sea defenses and to consider tourism and hospitality (Photo: A house being demolished)

‘I am actively supporting Save Hemsby Coastline to arrange the delivery of this petition to Number 10.

‘Due to a previous commitment in Norfolk I am unable to attend the presentation but remain keen to engage with them or any other community group.’

Mr Brennan, 64, added: ‘After a decade of working to secure maritime defense funding, it feels like we’ve been led under the pretense of progress.’

The group said more than 120 homes in Hemsby were under threat in the next 20 years, but the village had lost ten in the past 12 months alone.

Former soldier Lance Martin had to drag his house off a cliff twice to stop it falling into the sea before admitting defeat last November.

Mr Martin only moved his one-bedroom bungalow back from the brink in 2018 after buying the property and said it would be safe for around 40 years.

Mr Martin said last year: ‘The overwhelming feeling among the neighbors is one of despair.’