Nudging towards the sea, the clifftop house with some very clear sea views goes on market for just £25k (but hurry with your offer)

  • House in Easton Bavents near Southwold, Suffolk was a mile inland in 17th century but is now just 26ft from edge
  • There has been continuous erosion over the centuries with the house 'moving' 2ft closer to the sea last month
  • New owners will be given financial help and planning permission to demolish it and build another house elsewhere

Sea views, a beachfront location and a very competitive price tag makes this house look like a bargain at £25,000. But there's just one catch – it's about to collapse into the North Sea. However, any potential buyer might not be as mad as you think because the council has promised to help the next owner build a new home in a safer spot after this one is demolished. The house in Easton Bavents near Southwold, Suffolk was a mile inland in the 17th century but is now just 26ft from the crumbling cliff edge. There has been continuous erosion over the centuries with the house 'moving' 2ft closer to the sea during storms which lashed the cliffs last month. It's up for sale with a guide price of between £25,000 and £50,000 and the new owners will be given financial help and planning permission to demolish it and build another house on a different plot. Waveney District Council said assistance would be available under its scheme for new owners of blighted houses.

Andrew McTear, whose insolvency firm is selling the house, said: ‘It may sound crazy to try selling a house that close to the edge of an eroding cliff. But by owning this property you could potentially get planning permission for another plot of land that you wouldn't otherwise be able to.

FOUR FORMS OF COASTAL EROSION

Coastal erosion is the wearing away of rock by destructive waves hitting the coastline.

There are four major forms:

  • Abrasion: Cliff surfaces are eroded by rock and sand in waves
  • Attrition: Rocks and pebbles collide, making them break and become smoother
  • Hydraulic action: Air can get trapped in cracks on a cliff face - and then become compressed when a wave breaks
  • Solution: Some rocks such as chalk can be dissolved by acids found in sea water

‘Plots of land near Southwold with planning permission are clearly highly sought-after, so we hope to be able to sell the clifftop home, even in the knowledge that it will have to be demolished.’ Waveney council's Pathfinder scheme has offered nine Easton Bavents landowners up to £25,000 towards building and moving costs. Coun David Ritchie, chairman of the Pathfinder board, said: ‘If you are in danger of losing your property to erosion and you sell it the new owner would still have planning rights to build elsewhere. ‘The whole policy is an attempt to deal with coastal blight so it could work to buy a house on a clifftop and move inland and take their planning permission with them.’

The council said it expected the owners of clifftop properties to have them demolished before they fell on to the beach and financial help was available for this. Laura Martin lives next door to the home which is for sale and admitted she could not afford to buy or build another house elsewhere. She added that her long-term plan was to live in a caravan in her back garden which is further inland than her house. The 57-year-old said: ‘I've got no plans to try and demolish my house because it's not in immediate danger but you can't make predictions about the future rate of erosion - nobody can.’

Other examples of major coastal erosion have happened across Britain over the past few years. Last April a house bought for £154,000 in a telephone auction by retired police officer Ann Diamond in February 2010 fell 300ft into the sea off Torquay, Devon.

In parts of East Anglia, the fast receding coastline has been severely damaged - with 6,000 truckloads of sands washed away in just three years at Hopton-on-Sea beach in Norfolk. Worried owners of a holiday park overlooking the beach said the damage threatens the future of the seafront.

The Daily Mail
2 January 2014

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