Sadness of grandfather whose clifftop home has partly collapsed

A grandfather whose clifftop home has partially collapsed on to a beach has said he had hoped to spend his final years there.

Widower Maurice Broom, 74, bought the property in Hemsby, Norfolk two years ago for £40,000.

He said his wife died of cancer in 2012, and he moved to Hemsby as his children had felt uncomfortable visiting the home he had shared with her in nearby Caister-on-Sea.

Maurice Broom, 74, whose home at Hemsby has partially collapsed onto the beach.
Maurice Broom, 74, whose home at Hemsby has partially collapsed onto the beach.

"She suffered really badly," he said.

He said it "seemed sense" to buy the house, which was 70 metres from the cliff edge and had been fitted with a new kitchen.

But on Friday he was evacuated from the property, and on Tuesday the home partially collapsed on to the beach.

Coastal erosion in Norfolk
Coastal erosion in Norfolk

The entire bathroom floor, with the toilet still attached to it, dropped out of the home as the sand beneath it has been eroded away.

The property's back door hangs precariously over the cliff edge, and the gaping hole where the bathroom floor once was means the kitchen and lounge are visible from the beach.

Speaking from the temporary accommodation where he has been staying with his dog and four cats since Friday, he told the Press Association: "It's disgraceful, upsetting, because that would have been my last home.

"I'm 75 this year so I wouldn't have gone anywhere.

"The neighbours were so nice.

"I'd lived in London and my immediate neighbours in London were friendly but no-one else was.

"I'd never known people that were so friendly, even in the pub or the caff or in the street or whatever.

"They always helped you if you needed it, but that's gone.

"I'd found somewhere, a niche that I'd never found before.

"I'd lived in Woolwich, Charlton, Orpington, Maidstone, Gorleston, Caister and then there, and that was the best area I'd ever met, but then of course it all went down the drain."

Coastal erosion in Norfolk
Coastal erosion in Norfolk

The retired construction worker said many of his possessions remained in the property, and he was not allowed in to fetch things as it was unsafe.

"My building was the last attempted to clear out, because originally it was whole," he said.

"All the others had already partially collapsed so they emptied them and by the time they got round to mine and there had been three or four searches it became unsafe.

"The new bit split away from the old."

Among the items in the house are a four-poster bed - "I loved it, it was so comfortable" - his vinyl record collection and some of his band T-shirts.

"I'm a heavy metal freak still," he said. "I was in a mosh pit three weeks ago."

He said a T-shirt of the band Boris, which took him 10 years to get, was still in the washing machine in the house.

He added that he would sooner sleep in his car than be separated from his pets, and he was also sad to see the building lost.

"I'm very upset not only for me and everything gone but that poor old building was 83 years old," he said.

"It was built in 1935. It's a shame a building as beautiful as that was has gone to the dogs.

"There should have been a sea defence."

Thirteen properties have been evacuated and remain at "very high" risk of going into the sea.