A seaside town regarded as the "most deprived" in Britain has been warned it could end up underwater.
Jaywick, a coastal village in the Tendring district of Essex, was recently featured in a Channel 5 documentary which highlighted the issues in the area.
From drugs and alcohol issues to regular fly-tipping, and an outbreak of canine parvovirus that killed at least a dozen dogs.
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Now, residents have been warned that if the town doesn’t fix its serious flooding problems, it could soon be underwater.
Local councillor Dan Casey told The Express said he is terrified Jaywick's flood defences will fail.
In 2013, water came within two and a half centimetres of topping the sea wall.
The independent councillor said: “In 1953 we lost 35 people through the floods down here and if it came across the wall now there’s a lot more people that live down there, so I’d hate to even think [about it] and I just hope that day never comes.”
Cllr Casey, who represents West Clacton and Jaywick Sands, added that properties in some areas of the town, such as Brooklands on the seafront, are not designed for flooding.
Writing on his website he said: “We’ve still got the same housing in the Brooklands area which is now basically 70, 80, 90 years old and, how would you say, they’re not really flood resilient and we live in a flood plain.
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“You’ve got to look at what you’re going to do about the housing.”
The documentary Benefits by the Sea has been slammed by some as 'poverty porn' for focusing on various jobless claimants and featuring characters such as a pregnant heroin addict and a woman with confused.com tattooed on her forehead.
Jaywick then garnered unwanted global fame in 2018 after it was used in a pro-Donald Trump political campaign to warn voters of “what could happen without choosing him”.
Then, earlier this year, the town, which has topped a number of 'most deprived' places to live lists, was hit by the outbreak of canine parvovirus.
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According to local resident Maria Revell, this was down to a lack of dog poo bins.
Maria and her small group of helpers regularly clean the town's streets for free, despite the fact she suffers from fibromyalgia, a condition that causes fatigue and debilitating muscle pain.
Maria said fly-tipping was a massive problem in the area: “The fly-tipping is phenomenal. There’ll go into someone’s garden where it’s empty and they’ll put a sofa [in there] and then another sofa appears, and I can’t do [anything about] that now, but why should we live round that?”
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But Maria believes the area has dramatically improved over the past three years, adding that the spirit of the people is "phenomenal".
Meanwhile, the Government has started work on a £10 million flood defence scheme that is designed to protect the Essex coast, including Jaywick, from life-threatening flooding. The new flood defence will seek to improve the existing measures in place.
John Lindsay, Essex's coastal engineer for the Environment Agency, said: “We are already seeing the impacts of climate change in the UK and around the world.
"This is why urgent action is needed to adapt to the effect of the climate emergency. The work at Cockett Wick will help to continue to protect the local communities for decades to come."
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