British seaside bungalow valued at one pound!


London : Any takers for a seaside bungalow in Norfolk costing just a British pound? One note of caution though: the sea is eating away at the earth under it.

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A whole new controversy over coastal erosion and the government’s reported indifference to the consequences has erupted after a couple was told that their three-bed home on the cliff on the Norfolk coast was valued at just about a loaf of bread.

The reason: the house’s distance from the cliff edge at Happisburgh has rapidly shrunk from 1,300 feet to 200 feet because of erosion. The house many not exist at all in a few years.

People residing along the coast in Norfolk have met Environment Minister Phil Woolas to plead for help in the face of the encroaching sea. Coastal residents in other counties of Britain are now awakening to the new danger.

The unlucky couple, Jane Archer and partner Chris Cutting, went to Natwest for a valuation of their house as they wanted to use it as collateral for a business loan. Now they do not know what is their priority: Buy a new business or a house. Natwest has refused to give details.

They had paid 20,000 pounds for their three-bedroom home in 1987 and had believed, from the sales of other similar homes nearby, that it would be worth around 80,000 pounds now. After paying mortgage for nearly 20 years, they say they cannot afford to start from scratch once again.

Archer tells The Telegraph: “Our lives are being destroyed by the government’s policy to allow villages like ours to simply crumble into the sea. Lots of money is being spent by the authorities on finding new habitats for rare birds threatened by climate and coastal management changes – but what about people?”

The village of Happisburgh has seen more than 20 clifftop homes and a road tumble into the sea in recent years because of the lack of sea defences. The North Norfolk District Council has tried to halt the erosion of the cliffs by depositing 5,000 tonnes of rocks on the beach – but to little effect.

The government is being criticised for not investing in sea defences in endangered coastal regions, instead spending on other areas deemed to be more worth saving (areas still far off from erosion threat).