RESIDENTS of Hallsands turned out in force to a public meeting with local MP Dr Sarah Wollaston at Stokenham Parish Hall last Friday.

With the centenary of the storm that destroyed the old village of Hallsands being marked on Thursday, January 26 next year, they were concerned that neglect by the authorities might result in the new village of Hallsands suffering the same fate.

Their fears were summed up in a question put by one of the residents who asked: ‘As a GP, Dr Wollaston will be aware of the recent controversies surrounding the Liverpool Care Pathway and end of life. It seems that with the classification of no active intervention in the Shoreline Management Plan the authorities have assigned the village of Hallsands to the end of life pathway. What course of palliative care would the doctor prescribe for a dying village?’

They were, however, disappointed in Dr Wollaston’s reply when she said that the authorities have no intention of providing assistance and that people should never have bought houses there because they should have known that the village was not going to be protected from coastal erosion.

John Churton, a resident of nearby Bickerton, said: ‘Dr Wollaston loads the responsibility on the buyers of houses, but only a few years ago those houses were given planning permission by the very same authorities who now refuse to maintain their road and their sea defences. It beggars belief that we are still expected to pay our council tax to these people.’

Residents were, however, heartened by the response of Cllr Richard Fosse to a suggestion that there should be a study into the feasibility of large scale repositioning of the shingle. He said that the district council is looking again at the Shoreline Management Plan and was already engaging with Plymouth University on research into the geomorphology of the bay. He stated that any solution that is arrived at must treat the bay as a whole.

David Marcer, who put forward the suggestion, said: ‘We already know from discussions with experts that it is shingle, not hard defences, that is our true protection from erosion. And that Start bay is a closed system where shingle neither leaves nor is replenished and that at the moment too much of that shingle is at the north end of the bay.

‘We look forward to learning more of this investigation and, what is more important for all who live along the bay, seeing some positive results. The amounts of money involved in moving the shingle might seem large, but they are insignificant when we consider that £60 million of public money has recently been spent on the design stage of a garden bridge in London.’