Locals hope latest landslip will be 'final nail' in luxury clifftop development

The scene at Whipsiderry beach following a third cliff collapse which happened in April at the site of a planned development of luxury flats.
The scene at Whipsiderry beach following a third cliff collapse which happened in April at the site of a planned development of luxury flats. -Credit:Greg Martin / Cornwall Live

Residents living near a clifftop development site in Cornwall, which has seen multiple landslips in recent months, are hoping work will end after the latest fall. Living Quarter Properties has planning permission to build seven terraced houses above Whipsiderry Beach in Porth, Newquay, a site previously home to Paradise Hotel.

However, concerns have been raised about the cliffs' instability after they were subject to three rockfalls within just five months. The site saw a huge landslip on December 19 which caused tonnes of rock to plummet down the 200ft cliff face and onto the beach below.

It came after a previous cliff fall less than a month earlier on November 29. At the time, The Save Whipsiderry Cliffs campaign - which has held protests and even stopped work as part of its high-profile opposition to the development - said the cliffs had become “highly unstable” and predicted “much more” of it would fall.

Earlier this month, CornwallLive reported the developer had submitted an application to Cornwall Council to add rock bolts and meshing to the cliffs to help stabilise them. A report submitted to planners stated that imagery from a drone survey showed the cliff face is currently unstable and that there is potential for further landslip if left in its current state.


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It said: “Unfortunately, the size and effect of the next rockfall cannot be predicted. The geological setting is such that there is no obvious pattern to the rock falls, however, the cave immediately to the south of the current rock fall is larger, and has more of an overhang above it, suggesting that the next rock fall could be far more significant."

However, it added that the previous landslip has provided benefits to the cliff’s stability. The report says: “The cliff profile is no longer undercut, making remediation simpler, and there is exposure of good quality rock on the face.”

It suggests that rock bolting and meshing with a regular maintenance and renewal regime would provide sufficient stabilisation to reduce erosion to an acceptable level to provide protection to the proposed development for at least 125 years.

Locals and campaigners have expressed fear that someone could be at risk of serious injury or possibly even death if another cliff fall occurs. After the latest landslip, calls were made for Cornwall Council to stop the development altogether.

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Leah Steward, 48, who lives 100m from the cliffs above Whipsiderry Beach, told the MailOnline that she hopes "this last rockfall puts a final nail in it". She also expressed concern over the loss of the beach below, adding that "there is no safe way down there anymore."

After the first fall, steps and a section of footpath leading to a beach were closed off. Members of the public were asked to keep well away from the 200ft cliff edge over fears of further erosion.

The scheme has angered residents who fear it will destroy the beach below and damage the cliffs which are habitats for rare nesting birds and bats as well as species of endangered flowers. The site was used last year for protests by locals who were campaigning to have work stopped to fill in caves at the base of the cliffs, to enable properties to be developed on top of the 200-foot cliff.

Local resident, Peter Scobie, 54, also told the MailOnline that there is a lot of anger in the area following the latest cliff fall. He said the landslips only started happening after work started on the development and have continued despite drilling work being stopped.

Robin Barber added that he thinks it's "unbelievable" that the developers are trying to push forward with the works. He said if the road nearby was to collapse as a result, it would have a significant impact on the town as it forms part of the main bus route.

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