“We won’t let this drop”- vow Sidmouth cliff fall campaigners

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 April 2011

Save our homes: (L to R) Cliff Road residents Steve Chipperfield, Julia Burdekin and Paul Griew.

Save our homes: (L to R) Cliff Road residents Steve Chipperfield, Julia Burdekin and Paul Griew.

Archant

RESIDENTS turned activists vowed “we’re not going to let this drop” after revealing a £900,000 scheme to stop their homes from toppling into the sea.

RESIDENTS turned activists vowed “we’re not going to let this drop” after revealing a £900,000 scheme to stop their homes from toppling into the sea.

Determined Cliff Road householders’ solution to tackle rapid erosion of Sidmouth’s crumbling eastern cliffs today got a boost from the town’s Chamber of Commerce and MP Hugo Swire.

A newly-formed action group of homeowners, whose gardens are receding by 13 feet a year, unveiled blueprints for a 210-metre-long retaining wall on Tuesday.

They have spent £10,000 between them on the planning application alone - and say the project’s huge six-figure total “can be found one way or another.”

“Our houses are in peril - in 15 years we’ll have to abandon them,” said leading campaigner Paul Griew. “In the last four years we’ve lost more of our gardens than in the last 50 years.

“This is about protecting cliffs from man-made erosion, protecting our houses, protecting people from being hurt on the beach and protecting Sidmouth from being flooded.

“The Human Rights Act gives us the right to protect our properties - we’re seeking to exercise that right.”

The proposed five-metre-high granite revetment could become a reality by September next year if given the go-ahead.

“Because of frustration of the past, this group has got a lot of lead in its pencil,” said activist Steve Chipperfield. “We’re not going to let this drop- even if this gets refused.”

“We’ve had tremendous support from townspeople and are hoping for a lot, lot more,” added Julia Burdekin.

MP Hugo Swire told the Herald: “Where these residents have my full support is that I want their very real concerns to be addressed.” He wants agencies involved in coastal protection to enter into talks with homeowners and has offered to broker such discussions.

Chamber of Commerce members who met on Wednesday welcomed plans.

“Like everyone else in Sidmouth, we hope the district council will respond in a constructive and positive manner,” said a spokesperson.


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