Lady whose home is edging closer to cliff says it won't last very long

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I don’t know how long I can last’: Pub landlady whose dream home on Norfolk coast is inching closer to cliff edge says she is terrified the £75,000 bungalow will fall into the sea at any moment

  • Mandy Jephcote’s £75,000 Hemsby home could be under the sea in a year
  • Due to the rapid retreat of the cliff her home has been rendered worthless 
  • She is like dozens of other Norfolk homeowners battling coastal erosion

A pub landlady who bought her dream retirement property with sea views has seen her dream turn into a nightmare as it teeters over a cliff and on the verge of slipping into the sea.

When Mandy Jephcote paid £75,000 for the cosy two bedroom bungalow in Hemsby on the Norfolk coast three years ago she envisaged growing old and enjoying views of the North Sea.

But in that time Mandy has watched in horror as her front garden slowly slipped into the sea as her home has inched closer and closer to the cliff edge.

Now her wooden bungalow has been rendered worthless.

Mandy, 58, told MailOnline of the latest storm: ‘The waves were so loud on Friday I thought I was going to up end in the sea. They were crashing into the cliff all night long.

Mandy Jephcote spent £75,000 on her Norfolk dream home but in three years has watched it become worthless

Bit by bit Mandy’s home is slipping into the sea due to constant coastal erosion

‘It was so scary. I huddled up with my dogs and prayed. I didn’t get to sleep until dawn.

‘And in the morning I found out I had lost ten foot of my garden into the sea.

‘In fact in the past year I have lost 20-foot of my garden. It was 40-foot long when I bought the property. Now it’s barely 20-foot. The rest has gone over the cliff.’

Mandy explained how she had always wanted to retire to the ‘Marrams’ – as the clifftop community in Hemsby is known.

She explained: ‘I used to bring my three daughters to Hemsby when they were little. In fact it was the only place we ever went on holiday. So it was always my dream to have a house on the Marrams.

‘But now I don’t know how long I can last year.

‘I love it here but it’s scary. I don’t know how long I will be able to stay.’

Another clifftop home-owner has told how she will stay until the bitter end, despite losing five foot of her garden in Friday night’s storm.

A distraught Mandy is now unsure if her house will last another year

Many coastal properties in the area are at risk of suffering the same fate as Mandy’s home

Sarah Goward, 52, bought her two-bedroom property five years ago for £50,000 after moving to Hemsby following a divorce.

Sarah, who works in a nearby holiday camp, told MailOnline: ‘I’ve sank everything I’ve got into this house. I love being next to the sea and hearing the waves.

‘It’s all I have. I paid £60,000 for it five years ago but now it’s worthless. So I’m going to stay as long as I can. I have nowhere else to go. Hopefully that will be at least ten years.’

Sarah told how she knew nothing of the damage the Friday night storm had caused to her property until the following morning.

She said: ‘When the storm struck I was fast asleep so I had no idea how bad it was until the morning. Then I went out there with my son John and I saw that we had last at least five-foot of our garden into the sea.

‘When I saw had happened I was really frightened. I wanted to sleep in the car. But I’ve got used to it now. ‘We are going to stay.’

Homes sit close to the cliff edge at Hemsby in Norfolk, where the beach has been closed off because of significant erosion

Sarah added: ‘I had a visit from the council this morning who came to assess the damage. They told me I was not a priority and that is should stay put.’ The residents have called on the local authorities to build sea defences to property their homes.

READ MORE: The families whose homes inch ever closer to falling into the sea 


Sarah said: ‘Instead of spending our council tax money on putting on light show and fishing competitions they should build defences so that our homes don’t fall into the sea.’

However their homes are among a collection of just five properties that sit on the Marrams clifftop, north of the Hemsby beach ‘gap’.

They are the first buildings north of the ‘gap’ to have suffered from erosion. Previous properties to fall victim to the sea have been south of the ‘gap’. 

Local campaigner Lorna Bevan explained: ‘This is the first time that properties north of the gap have suffered from cliff erosion. They have lost up to ten feet of their garden into the sea.

‘Properties south of the gap have been suffering for years and almost everyone has left. But this is the first time houses north of the gap have been affected. ‘This latest storm has cut off access to Hemsby beach and made the whole area unsafe.’

It comes as dozens of families on the east coast of England could be forced to abandon their homes as coastal erosion threatens to doom their properties to the sea. 

A recent report by climate group One Home estimated that coastal homes in England worth a total of £584million could be lost to cliff collapses by 2100. 

The report accounts for 2,218 homes across 21 coastal communities that have been brought closer to crumbling cliffs over the years.

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