‘My seaside village is sliding into the sea – and my house could be gone by Christmas’

A woman has said her seaside village is sliding into the sea and her house could be gone by Christmas.

Mother Nicola Bayless, 48, said her three-bed house in Happisburgh is now less than 15m from the nearest cliff after the area was ravaged by Storm Babet and Storm Ciarán earlier this year.

As the cliff wears away she fears that her entire house could go over the edge before Christmas and leave her family’s life in jeopardy.

Both Storm Babet and Storm Ciarán hit the UK with full force, causing widespread flooding to large areas of the UK causing coastal erosion in some areas.

Ms Bayless, a nurse, said that the house was originally purchased by her late parents, Anita and Arthur Richmond when it was around 200 metres away from the cliff.

While they knew coastal erosion would eventually sweep the property away, they didn’t think it might be gone so soon.

Ms Bayless said: “We haven’t even got into winter, but as we’ve lost that much, we could be forced to leave in springtime or even before Christmas.”

“It’s heartbreaking and it’s frightening if you let it take over your mind, it can get you down mentally.

“I’m not choosing to go and find somewhere new. it’s something I’m being forced to do. I would stay here forever, but I’m not going to put myself at risk.

She added: “After Babet, four metres was gone. Then it was another two metres after Ciarán. But more has gone since then. So you’re talking, in a month, seven to eight metres.

“We used to have Christmas light competitions with our neighbours – how many lights you could get on your home. It looked like Las Vegas at the bottom of the road.”

Ms Bayless added that it made her sad to see that village life was “disappearing as well” as she recalled holidays in the area with her parents. It was on one of these holidays that her parents had fallen in love with the area and purchased a property.

Her parents later gave her the house when she became a mother in 2016. Ms Bayless explained: “My parents had said ‘it will see you out, it will see your kids out’.”

On the survey, they were told they had 150 years before the cliff would meet the house.

“That was quite believable because of where it was. But they’ve only been gone five years and in that time, you wouldn’t believe how much has gone.

“I think they’d be very shocked if they ever returned and saw all this because it is just crazy, absolutely crazy. It’s climate change and the weather getting worse, and things like that – that’s all I can put it down to.”


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