Published: 14:10, 29 June 2021
| Updated: 09:14, 02 July 2021
Homes at risk from an eroding cliff close to collapsing have been protected as part of a £1 million rescue operation.
Erosion of the chalk cliffs above Eagles Road in Greenhithe were first reported in Christmas 2019 and work was urgently required to stabilise it from falling into the houses below.
The year-long project was commissioned by Dartford council with surveyors called in to inspect the cliff who found excessive numbers of trees, shrubs and other plants were adding too much weight for the cliff to support.
Animals' habitats were also secured with workers bringing in precautionary measures to help protect homes to avoid damage during the works.
The work saw contractors remove surface coverage of foilage without damaging the cliff itself or destroying wildlife.
New paths and catch-fencing were installed to give council maintenance teams easier access to carry out further protection works should slippages or rock falls happen.
Survey works were carried out by Ingleton Wood and the stabilising works by firm Clifford Devlin.
Chris Mabbutt, partner at Ingleton Wood, said: “Our structural engineering, project management and quantity surveying teams prepared a comprehensive list of works following the initial inspection which provided enough flexibility to adapt the scheme as necessary.
“Once the project progressed and the cliff edge was relieved of the excess weight, it became clear that some areas of the cliff face required more severe remedial works to secure the site.
“As part of this additional work, metal curtains and netting were introduced to the cliff in order to retain future material falling from the cliff face.
"The team worked hard to secure the cliff face for the residents around it, overcoming many complications along the way.”
Dartford council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite said: "This is the result of a year-long project, and I am very pleased with the quality of work and the outcome.
"This was a complicated job close to people’s homes and the team at Ingleton Wood worked very hard to ensure that appropriate safety measures were put in place, in addition to protecting local wildlife habitats and minimising damage to the cliff face.
"I understand that the local residents are very appreciative of what’s been achieved and the measures taken to resolve a significant issue.”
The cliff has now been fully stabilised preventing further erosion to protect homes and residents living below it.
Ian O’Connor, from Clifford Devlin, said: “The job was extremely challenging, but working together with council and Ingleton Wood teams, we were able to overcome all of the technical and practical issues that arose, whilst gaining great feedback from the residents."