Eastchurch cliff fall: House hanging over edge after second collapse

Rory Sullivan
A house in Eastchurch, Kent, hangs over a cliff: SWNS

A house in Kent is hanging over the edge of a cliff after a “significant section” of it collapsed on Sunday morning, the local council has said.

Pictures show the precarious state of the property in Surf Avenue in Eastchurch, Kent, after a car and a garage fell away with part of the cliff on Sunday.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Swale Borough Council said: “A further significant section of the cliff in Eastchurch has collapsed leaving one property structurally unsafe and at increased risk of collapse.”

“A small number of other properties close-by have self-evacuated and we have set up a rest centre near-by,” it added.

This comes after 20 homes in the area were evacuated on Friday night after several metres of land collapsed because of coastal erosion.

Kent Fire and Rescue said that firefighters attended the scene after reports that a “large section of the cliff edge” had fallen away.

It added: “Around 20 homes were quickly and safely evacuated as a precaution and the occupants were placed into a temporary welfare centre.”

All but two households were allowed to return to their properties on Saturday. However, the incident left several homes without electricity.

Malcolm Newell, a resident in Surf Crescent, said he has been campaigning since 2015 for the cliff-top homes to receive more protection against coastal erosion.

Speaking about the possibility of putting in coastal defences, Mr Newell said: “If this was looked at earlier on and more was done, the cliff could have possibly been saved.

“People complain that the money could be put to better use in the community, but we are part of the community — that’s what’s wrong here.”

A spokesperson for Swale Borough Council said its administration opposed the Environment Agency’s “non-intervention” strategy for the area.

However, the Environment Agency said: “The shoreline management plan, which indicates which areas justify continued protection or not, was written in full consultation with Swale Borough Council and other partners.

“These are always difficult decisions, and the plan sets out no further intervention for this area, however we continue to work closely with Swale Borough Council.”

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Kent cliff collapse forces families from homes in Eastchurch

Environment Agency