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Our neighbours have to demolish their £2m clifftop mansion after council told them it’s unsafe – they’ll be devastated

A HEARTBROKEN couple are being forced to demolish their £2million clifftop holiday home because it is in danger of falling into the sea.

Richard Moore, 76, and wife Sheila, 73, have been told by council officials that their home is too unsafe to live in because it is at risk of being swept away by coastal erosion.

The Red House is being demolished before it is swept away over a cliff
The £2million holiday home in Thorpeness, Suffolk, is owned by Richard and Sheila Moore
Demolition has begun after the council said the house was too unsafe to live in

They have lost at least 50ft of their back garden in the last 20 months, leaving the Red House just 30ft from the edge of the 35ft high sandy cliff in North End Avenue, Thorpeness, Suffolk.

Work on demolishing the home began this week, after East Suffolk Council ruled that its precarious position was simply too dangerous.

The house, which has spectacular views over the North Sea, would have been worth around £2m if it were not for erosion, but it is now worthless.

It is the first major property in the upmarket village to be effectively lost to the sea since the East Coast floods of 1953.

But local residents believe it will only be a matter of time before other homes in the area face the same fate.

The Red House, built in the 1920s, has been owned for at least 25 years by Ipswich Town director Mr Moore and his partner, who live in Ongar, Essex.

The couple, who have been renting out the property for thousands of pounds a week as a luxury holiday let, have not yet commented on the demolition.

But a villager said: “They are going to be very upset that it has come to this.



“The Red House is a beautiful property and is tragic that it is being knocked down.

“They could have spent a fortune on making their own sea defences just as their neighbours have done – but you can’t hold back the forces of nature for ever.”

The house, which sleeps 16 people and boasts a hot tub in the garden with sea views, had been exposed to waves as it is the most northern coastal property in the village.

TV producer Lucy Ansbro, 53, who lives next door and is campaigning for better sea defences, said: “Coastal erosion has been a problem for a long time – but it has happened much faster here than anyone thought.

“There were sea defences known as gabions, made from rocks in wire baskets at the base of the cliff in front of the Red House, but they got ripped out by bad weather in February last year.

“Then they got ripped out in front of our house by another spell of bad weather over Easter a couple of months later.

“It left both the houses very exposed.”

Miss Ansbro and her partner Matthew Graham spent “hundreds of thousands of pounds” last October on bringing in more than 500 giant rocks weighing three tons each which they placed at the bottom of the cliff to protect their home.

She added: “We got the work done under emergency powers as our property was in more imminent danger at that point.

“We paid for it because the council had no obligation to.

“There were discussions about the Red House joining in, but they did not have the funds available.

“If I had not put those rocks down, we would not be living there now.

“Most of our house is nearer the sea than the Red House and the cliff would be down the middle of our garden.

“We have lost about four or five metres from the corner of garden since last February.

“While, the rocks have stabilised things for now, I am sure the sea will start encroaching on the north side before too long.”

Miss Ansbro is a director of the Thorpeness Community Interest Company which is in discussions with Coastal Partnership East – an amalgamation of coastal councils in Suffolk and Norfolk – to try and improve sea defences in the area.

She said: “We represent the whole village and we are trying to alert everyone to the problem.

“Once the Red House goes, other houses fronting the sea are in danger and then those behind are in peril.”

A spokeswoman for Coastal Partnership East, which manages the coastline in Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “In 2021, the area at most risk was to the cliffs in front of North End Avenue.

“It was critical that this erosion did not increase here as it would have been detrimental to the community’s longer-term plans.

“In October 2021, urgent works in the form of granite rock were put in place.

“The erosion to the cliffs in front of the Red House increased significantly in the early part of 2022.

“Large areas of cliff were lost, leaving the north end of the property at significant risk.

“The critical point (angle of elevation) had been reached by early spring.

“By this time, any interventions at the toe of the cliff would not have made a difference to whether the property was safe for occupation.”

They added that other properties have had to be demolished in the area due to the soft and sandy cliffs along the rapidly eroding coastline.

“Coastal Partnership East are working with the worst affected communities and other government agencies to explore what options are available now and to create new options for communities as our coast faces increasing challenges from a changing climate,” the spokesperson continued.

“A rock revetment is the option preferred by the community and this is moving toward detailed design.”

The house sits precariously close to the cliff edge
The home has a hot tub with sea views
The owners have lost at least 50ft of their back garden in the last 20 month
The Red House now sits just 30ft from the edge of the 35ft high sandy cliff
Neighbours said it was ‘tragic’ that the home was being knocked down
The council said the house was in danger of falling into the sea
Next-door neighbour Lucy Ansbro said: ‘Coastal erosion has been a problem for a long time – but it has happened much faster here than anyone thought’
It is the first major property in the upmarket village to be effectively lost to the sea since the East Coast floods of 1953
The house would have been worth around £2m if it were not for erosion
The building, in its prime location, it is now worthless
The house sleeps 16 people and boasts a hot tub in the garden
It has been owned for at least 25 years by Ipswich Town director Mr Moore and his partner

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