North Hallsands: Don’t leave our village in peril of the sea
A group of villagers have formed an action group under the name N2B – No second Betrayal – aiming ‘to save the coastal village of North Hallsands from the sea and from the even greater danger posed by politicians and the Environment Agency’.
In 1917, most of the then village was lost to the sea in a big storm. Shingle from the bay had been dredged to provide material to build Plymouth docks, and a government report later blamed this for the catastrophe.
The story was immortalised in the book Sisters Against the Sea, by Ruth and Frank Milton, about the Trout sisters who lived in the village, and in a play, Edie, written by Linda Churchill and performed by the Dartmouth Players last year.
In Febuary’s storms, extensive damage was caused to sea defences, a car park and a stretch of road behind the beach.
Residents claim 11 homes behind the beach, built relatively recently, are now in danger.
However, a spokesman for the Environment Agency disagreed, saying: ‘We can’t ask the Government for money for flood defences if no homes or businesses are threatened. If that becomes the case, we will act quickly.
‘It’s true that there is a policy of no active intervention on this stretch of coast. However, the agency doesn’t have responsibility for coastal defences, only flood defences. Responsibility for coastal protection falls to South Hams Council and Devon County Council.’
South Hams Council said that responsibility lay with the county, which said: ‘We’re asking the Department for Communities and Local Government whether the reinstatement of the road at Hallsands qualifies for Bellwin funding.’