A former soldier, Lance Martin, is facing the risk of losing his clifftop house to erosion, and he needs to move it as soon as possible.
The wooden property named ‘Dune Fall’ is situated on the eroding coastal cliff at Hemsby, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Three properties along the same beach were demolished over the weekend due to a succession of extremely high tides on the east Norfolk coast.
Mr. Martin launched a desperate bid to slide his 50-tonne property back from the cliff with the help of heavy machinery contractors.
He is in a race against time as the house could fall into the sea within hours.
Mr. Martin and his partner frantically dug with pickaxes to enable a telegraph pole to be fixed beneath the edge of the wooden house.
The plan is to attach the pole to cranes and cables for the extraordinary move.
The land where it is intended to move belongs to a local landowner who has given permission for it to be levelled for Mr. Martin’s house.
In 2018, Mr. Martin was able to drag his wooden property away from the coast using heavy machinery, and now he knows his only chance to save it means having to do the same again.
Officials from Great Yarmouth Borough Council were milling around the property this morning.
Although Mr. Martin has been granted time for his ‘adaptation plan’ (moving the property) before demolition is considered necessary, he said he has been told privately he is ‘number one’ on the demolition list.
He purchased the house for £95,000 in 2017 and has no regrets about buying the property with its ‘infinity pool’ visible through the window, as he jokingly referred to the North Sea.
Each of his neighbors has been evicted from their adjacent properties amid safety fears.
However, Mr. Martin has always insisted he has no intention of leaving his dream home.
His previous plan to move the house inland cost him £100,000, and he put his makeshift coastal defenses on the beach below with concrete blocks.
But today, those appeared to have little effect as the road beyond his house fell into the sea.
Mr. Martin served in the Grenadier Guards from 1978 to 2000 and moved to the coast after he retired from his security job and sold his flat in Dagenham, east London.
He said he had mentally prepared himself to walk away from the property. He believes there is always an opportunity and he will find somewhere else.
He will shed a tear for a minute or two, then pack his bags and move on.
Great Yarmouth Borough Council’s coastal management team, Coastal Partnership East (CPE), said today that they are initiating emergency works to reduce the erosion risk to the main access road for the Marrams.
The council’s housing and community teams have visited all those with homes at risk and are providing assistance in moving items.
Storage space has been organized for people who need somewhere to put their belongings.