Bourne Leisure Supports Battle for Beach at Hopton (UK)

Bourne Leisure Supports Battle for Beach at Hopton.

A major battle to save one of the most popular beaches on the East Coast of England has been launched by Bourne Leisure Ltd – the owner of Hopton-on-Sea holiday park.

The company is appealing to the Government, various statutory bodies and the people of Norfolk to assist in its efforts to reverse horrendous erosion of the public beach adjoining its holiday park at Hopton-on-Sea.

Erosion of the beach, used by local communities in Norfolk as well as adjoining caravan owners for decades, first became noticeable after the completion of the Outer Harbour development at nearby Great Yarmouth in September 2008.

Despite regular demands for an explanation, the six signatories to the legally binding Monitoring Agreement on the Outer Harbour development have so far refused to provide any satisfactory explanations. They are Great Yarmouth Borough Council, Waveney District Council, Associated British Ports, English Nature and the Environment Agency.

The sixth signature was the Great Yarmouth Port Authority which handed over management of the harbour to Great Yarmouth Port Company (GYPC), a private company which operates under the name EastPort UK.

Greater Yarmouth Port Company is in turn controlled by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), an international investment conglomerate which owns other major UK commercial operations including Gatwick Airport, London City Airport, Edinburgh Airport and Biffa Waste Management. Two partners with GIP, Gary Pritchard and Mehrdad Noorani, are now directors of GYPC.

Bourne Leisure have written to all six signatories asking why the Monitoring Agreement has not been fully implemented. An Act of Parliament, the Great Yarmouth Outer Harbour Revision Order 2005, clearly lays down the responsibilities and requirements for dealing with any coastal effect within 10 years of completing the construction of the Outer Harbour.

Bourne Leisure is demanding that an independent and experienced assessor be appointed immediately to review and confirm the report by Dr Phil Barber, an eminent authority on hydrodynamics, sediment transport and shoreline management.

Their decision to save the beach at Hopton-on-Sea follows two years of intense investigation involving civil engineer, coastal defence experts and one of the world’s leading computer modelling institutions.

Bourne Leisure now have the answers – a 500-page report compiled by Dr Phil Barber and his team clearly pin-points who stole Hopton’s beach.

The culprit is without doubt the Outer Harbour extension to the port of Great Yarmouth.

Since the 600-metre extension into the North Sea was completed in 2008, there have been dramatic changes to the tidal flow and littoral drift. In plain English, three metres, the height of a typical domestic flight of stairs, have been lost from Hopton beach. That is the equivalent of between 20,000 to 40,000 cubic metres of sand or 3,000 to 6,000 lorry loads each year.


Press Release, March 26, 2013