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Home   Thanet   News   Article

Margate coastguard Pete Overton warns about the danger of cliff falls and winter seas following chalk collapse at Kingsgate, Broadstairs

02 January 2014
by Mary Louis

Wild and wet weather has left dangerous conditions on cliffs around Thanet's coast.

Coastguard Peter Overton has urged people out walking to beware of the dangers after several tons of chalk collapsed next to the distinctive Kingsgate arch on the beach at Broadstairs.

He said: “There have been some major cliff falls around the coast and conditions are extremely dangerous.

Tons of chalk collapsed over Christmas next to the much-photographed chalk arch on the beach at Kingsgate. Picture Simon Piggott

Tons of chalk collapsed over Christmas next to the much-photographed chalk arch on the beach at Kingsgate. Picture: Simon Piggott


"Dog walkers and other people out and about need to stay well away from the bottom of cliffs and when out on clifftops.

Extremely treacherous conditions were the legacy of heavy rainfalls, high winds and waves lashing the shore.

Cliffs in the Broadstairs area, from Stone Bay to Foreness, were all liable to collapse.

Mr Overton said he had noticed the chalk fall at Kingsgate arch late on Christmas Eve.

On clifftops, just the weight of a person standing near the edge could be enough weight to cause a fall. Walking under the Kingsgate arch was to be avoided.

He also warned against people jumping into heavy seas as part of the holiday revelries. It was a particularly dangerous after drinking alcohol.

“People seem to want to jump in the sea for a bit of a laugh at New Year, but it is not a good idea,” he said.

“The combination of the cold water and wind chill factor can cause hypothermia.

Margate coastguard Pete Overton People don't realise how dangerous these areas can be.

Margate coastguard Pete Overton: "People don't realise how dangerous these areas can be."


“One metre of sea water weighs a ton. If those who are unaware are caught under heavy swell they can panic and be swept out to sea.

“There have been two tragedies around the coast already, we don’t want one like this in Thanet. The forecast is horrendous for the next few days.

Severe weather in the last few days has battered Thanet, bringing down trees and branches, causing some structural damage, toppling fences and walls and billboards and causing some road closures.

Fences took a battering as wild weather battered Thanet. Picture Claire Clifford-Fennell

Fences took a battering as wild weather battered Thanet. Picture: Claire Clifford-Fennell

Because of difficult conditions, Thanet District Council suspended refuse collections on Christmas Eve itself.

A spokeswoman said the authority apologised to residents for the inconvenience, adding “the safety of our staff and residents of Thanet is paramount.”

Council staff have been striving to catch up with bin emptying after their rounds in the last few days.

Updates and details of waste collection arrangements over the holiday can be found at:

Click here for more news from Thanet.

Click here for more news from around the county.

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