150 homes at risk of falling into the sea

Cliff erosion at Fairlight SUS-140422-131124001
Cliff erosion at Fairlight SUS-140422-131124001

Cliff erosion in Fairlight is putting 150 homes at risk of falling into the sea - that the stark message given by residents and members of the Fairlight Preservation Trust.

They voiced their concerns at a recent meeting with Labour parliamentary candidate Sarah Owen.

Members of the Trust warn that two sea defence barriers at the foot of the cliffs - known as berms - need to be linked up to save the properties.

The eastern berm was installed around 25 years ago, with the western completed in 2007. The distance between them is 260 metres and the intention has always been to link them up.

A submission for funding to link them has been submitted to the Environment Agency but there is no guarantee that it will be approved.

Paul Capps from FPT has asked for help from Rother District Council and is far from impressed with their response. He said: “This matter was first raised with the district council in 2011 and, to date, they have not done the job that we would like them to do.

“In fact, it’s been members of the Trust that have had to put together a comprehensive funding submission. One would have hoped that the council would have made time and resources available to make a worthwhile application.”

Sarah says she will be taking up the urgent issue; lobbying the government departments and agencies responsible for coastal defences.

She said: “It doesn’t make sense to have spent millions of pounds on sea defences near Fairlight, but not to have finished the job. Without completing the defences, this piecemeal approach is in danger of actually making the situation worse over time. By not joining up the two berms, the gap can funnel through stronger waves to the cliff face and increase erosion.”

“Many people saw the large chunks of cliff which collapsed into the sea at Rock-a-Nore. Imagine that cliff fall on a part of our coast with 150 properties at real risk. We must work together to complete the sea defence barrier, as originally envisaged, and put an end to the misery and uncertainty facing these families.”