Why save Happisburgh?
Set out below are a few of the multitude of reasons why we are fighting to protect Happisburgh:
Happisburgh is a national asset, historically and architecturally.
Happisburgh has no less than 18 listed buildings, including the Grade I listed 12th Century church, the lighthouse which is the only working lighthouse in the UK privately run and maintained, and its principal house, Happisburgh Manor (known locally as St. Mary's) recognised as one of England's seminal Arts and Crafts houses.
Happisburgh has a thriving, unique community.
Along with all the necessary physical ingredients of a church, village shop and post office, pub and school, Happisburgh has a tangible yet undefinable community spirit. This can be seen from the generations of sons and daughters who volunteer to man the local inshore lifeboat and coastguard team, who fought for an Act of Parliament to allow them to continue to operate the Happisburgh Lighthouse as a private trust, and who are now fighting for the existence of the village itself.
Happisburgh has contributed to tourism revenue of the region for centuries.
Throughout recorded history, Happisburgh has attracted vistors and with them their vital contributions to the local economy.
At the turn of the 18th century, sea bathing was a popular pastime for the upper classes. Happisburgh was on a par with other Norfolk coastal towns such as Sheringham and Cromer. Both Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens stayed and wrote novels.
Two of the assets currently at risk to the sea contribute a large portion to the villages tourism - the caravan park, and the tea rooms / guest house.
Happisburgh is protecting the northern Broads.
Happisburgh bridges the gap between the hard defences to the south and north - a potential weak link in the chain of measures put in place to protect the low-lying northern Broads from flooding.
The arguments for restoring ‘natural processes’ are flawed.
The composition of Happisburgh's cliffs is mostly mud thus the sediment supply from the cliffs at Happisburgh is of very little or no benefit to longshore drift rates of the North Norfolk coast. It is also documented that low lying cliffs are not a good source of sediment
The natural fow of sediment is along a strip, or
river approximately 1Km wide from the cliffs out to sea. Protection measures at Happisburgh are unlikely to affect this flow to any degree. Cromer and Sheringham have both been defended since the mid 1800's without any serious sustainability problems. There has been some downdrift effects from sediment starvation but this has been minimal and certainly not sufficient to make a case for the permanent loss of these communities.
The North-east Norfolk coastline can hardly be described as behaving naturally. Natural equilibrium cannot be achieved along a 3Km stretch of coast where there is a 4Km seawall to the north and an 11Km seawall to the south, not to mention the reefs and all the other defences nearby.