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Eastchurch cliff hazard notices

Published Thursday 3 September, 2020
Last updated on Tuesday 22 September, 2020

Three households who were in temporary accommodation after the cliff collapse in Eastchurch have been told they are able to return home.

The recent cliff collapse began on 29 May, and led to one family losing their home, and three other properties being unable to return until now.

The council secured temporary accommodation to those affected whilst surveys and specialist advice were sought to inform the decision about whether they could return to their homes.

Having completed this, the council has now issued hazard notices to two properties, which explains the risks to the owners and gives details of recommended actions for them to take.

Erosion in this area is not new, and the formal policy of no active intervention has been in place since at least 1996. The technical report has highlighted a number of contributing factors to the cliff falls. Any meaningful intervention would be beyond the borough council’s means and would require support from government funding.

Nationally set criteria are used to determine which areas of the coastline are defended and the information can be found in the Shoreline Management Plan and Sheppey Cliff erosion study from 2013. No active intervention was selected due to the SSSI designation and the lack of economic justification to provide protection against coastal erosion over the 100-year lifetime of the plan.

Cllr Tim Valentine, cabinet member for environment at the council, said:

“Since the collapse, we’ve been working to support the households affected and gathering the best information and advice we can so we can help them make decisions about the next steps.

“We’ve been speaking to the families to keep them updated with developments, and have now issued hazard awareness notices to two properties outlining our advice.

“We will continue to work closely with the families to help them consider their next steps, as well as liaise with the wider community to manage the impact to their homes in the longer term.

“The nature of the land here means that erosion will continue, and we expect more of the cliff to fall in the next few years, but we can’t predict with any certainty when that will be.

“So we have given them advice on actions they can take, and we will support them as they make the difficult decisions they have ahead of them.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody that has helped support the families affected. There are too many to mention here but the professionalism, generosity and caring since that night in May has been wonderful to see.”