20 October 2009
Homeowner encouraged to go through planning system to resolve coastal defence controversy.
Natural England welcomed today’s Court of Appeal judgment confirming that the Easton Bavents cliffs in Southwold should be legally recognised as a site of national conservation importance and designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The area has attracted widespread publicity in recent years, as a result of Mr Peter Boggis erecting sea defences in front of the cliffs in an attempt to defend his house from coastal erosion. The Court of Appeal judgement clears the way for the issues at Easton Bavents to be dealt with through the planning system, which Natural England has long argued is the most appropriate way to resolve them.
Shaun Thomas said: “Planning permission is clearly the way forward in this case. Natural England sympathises with the situation Mr Boggis faces, but the sea defences he has put in place need to be considered by appropriate planning authorities, so that all the interests at stake in this area can be taken into account. The SSSI designation does not remove Mr Boggis’s right to defend his home - regardless of whether the area is a SSSI or not, it remains open to Mr Boggis to seek legal permission, through the planning system, for the defences he wishes to construct. To date, Mr Boggis has not chosen to pursue this route but we would strongly encourage him to do so.
“We are working with Mr Boggis, Waveney District Council and the Environment Agency to see if we can identify a mutually acceptable coastal defence scheme in the area. A suitable planning application needs to made to Waveney District Council to enable them to judge the matter and properly weigh the interests of the Easton Bavents conservation site, of adjacent homeowners and of the ways in which his sea defences impact coastal and erosion processes elsewhere along the coast.”
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