- in Environment
Neighbours of a house that collapsed in a cliff fall have been told nothing will be done to save their properties.
One homeowner in Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, has been told to leave as soon as possible as another landslide could occur at any time.
Swale Borough Council said a policy not to slow erosion would remain in place.
Edwin Cane, 66, was told he may qualify for a £6,000 grant to demolish his home, but said he has not been offered any other support.
“It’s absolutely disgusting,” he said. “We need help from the council and they say they are happy to see the cliff fall.”
A family of six lost their home following a cliff fall in May, prompting the council to commission a geotechnical investigation to assess the cause of the collapse and the risk to other homes.
As a result of its findings, a “hazard notice” has been placed on the home of Mr Cane and one of his neighbours.
They have been told they can move back into their homes, but must be aware of the hazard and make any visitors aware.
“When the report came a lot of it was gobbledygook unless you’re a professor,” Mr Cane said.
“The crux of it says move out as soon as you can and we could give you up to £6,000 to demolish it.”
The retiree said he did not know where he would go or how he would pay for it.
“Everything I had has been sunk into this place,” he said.
The report found the cliff fall was contributed to by “sea erosion from below, and ground water running from the top”.
Erosion in the area is not new and a formal policy of “no active intervention” – meaning no applications for government-funded coastal defences will be made – has been in place since at least 1996, the council said.
Residents have been told the costs of works would be greater than the value of the property being saved.
Tim Valentine, cabinet member for environment, said: “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.”