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Eastchurch cliff fall: Families evacuated as homes at risk

Eastchurch cliff fall: Families evacuated as homes at risk

A family have been told they can not return to their home near the cliff edge
Twenty homes were evacuated overnight after a large section of cliff collapsed on to a beach in Kent.Residents of Surf Crescent in Eastchurch said they heard the ground "groaning" before a "great big lump" of road fell away on Friday evening.One home has been left "hanging" over the cliff edge, said local resident Malcolm Newell. He first warned authorities in 2015 that action was needed to prevent further erosion, he said."This should have been dealt with a long time ago," he said. "It's not right to have people's home, their livelihoods, falling into the sea."
Forced to flee
Firefighters arrived at the scene at about 22:00 BST and discovered a "large section of the cliff edge had fallen away leaving a number of properties at potential risk", Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) said.Mr Newell, a member of Eastchurch Parish Council, said the family, who have four children living at home, were forced to flee their home late on Friday evening."It was scary [for them], to have to get out of the house and not take anything with you. They couldn't even get shoes or socks for the kids."He said Swale Borough Council had agreed to take action to protect the cliffs "sooner rather than later" in November 2019, but work was yet to begin.
'Shocking news'
All but two of the evacuated households were told they could return to their homes on Saturday morning, with 13 people sheltering in a nearby community centre, the borough council said. Council leader Roger Truelove said the cliff fall was "shocking news," adding that the council would do "all we can to help people".The fire service warned the public to stay away from the area, with coastal paths and large sections of the underlying beach closed. In a statement, Swale Borough Council said it was opposed to the Environment Agency's existing shoreline management plan, which includes "no active intervention to defend this area".The council has "continued to engage with the Environment Agency to see what measures can be taken", it said.The Environment Agency has been contacted for comment.
Coastal erosion
Minster (Isle of Sheppey)
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