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KentOnline reporter witnesses further landslip at Eastchurch cliff collapse site

After residents were left anxious about further landfalls at Eastchurch, KentOnline reporter Chloe Holmwood was there to see first-hand the scary effect of the real erosion.

People living in roads surrounding Cliffhanger are fearful for their future after the home, which was left teetering on the cliff edge over the weekend, finally collapsed.

An aerial image of the house in Surf Crescent after it fell off the cliff. Picture: RLH Media
An aerial image of the house in Surf Crescent after it fell off the cliff. Picture: RLH Media

I was there on Tuesday speaking to stunned neighbours who were coming to terms with the events, which have left a number of them temporarily homeless.

Some were still reeling from the devastating news that something so awful could happen so close to home.

Others were worried their houses would be next.

To anyone else, the surrounding roads look normal and ever so peaceful - and then there are cordons at the end of Surf Crescent and Third Avenue warning of the danger at the cliff's edge, telling people to "keep out".

Ed Cane, whose bungalow in Third Avenue is behind Emma Tullett's home, said the past few days had been "terrible".

The end of Third Avenue, Eastchurch, has been cordoned off
The end of Third Avenue, Eastchurch, has been cordoned off

He, and other neighbours, were also fuming because they say the authorities have been slow to save the cliffs.

"They have spent millions dumping rocks at Warden Bay to save the beach and millions at Minster to build a promenade. But when we ask for help here we are told there is no money," he said.

Whilst I was speaking to Mr Cane, at about 2.15pm, I heard about five deep sounds coming from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) firing range in Shoeburyness, Essex - more than 30 miles away.

We carried on chatting and I snapped a couple of photos of Mr Cane before asking him if he was worried about his home.

Then there was a rumbling noise and another part of the cliff fell away at the bottom of Mr Cane's garden - meaning his property is now even closer to the drop.

Ed Cane, 67, whose house backs onto Cliffhanger, which fell off the cliff at Eastchurch
Ed Cane, 67, whose house backs onto Cliffhanger, which fell off the cliff at Eastchurch

It has caused the 67-year-old to question if the tremors from the explosions had caused that particular part of the cliff to fall.

"You could feel the ground rumbling when those bangs were going off, couldn't you?" he said to me.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Cane said he didn't think any more of the ground had given way since, but he said the explosions at the firing range should be put on hold for now.

Other neighbours and people living in other parts of the Island said they also felt the detonations weren't helping the state of the cliffs.

Steven King, from Minster, questioned why the MoD was continuing to detonate ordnance at Shoeburyness this week with the possibility the cliffs remained unstable after the major collapse.

The landslide from Ed’s garden
The landslide from Ed’s garden

He added: "The Isle of Sheppey has been feeling the tremors for the last few days. It doesn’t help."

Dr Paula Owens added: "This is the third consecutive day we've had a series of shock waves - at least five yesterday - on eastern Sheppey, shaking the house - literally.

"I have queried this before but - isn’t this not good for cliffs that are particularly unstable at this time of year?"

Yesterday alone, homes on Sheppey have felt tremors at 11.52am, 12.29pm, 12.44pm, 12.56pm, 1.11pm, 1.26pm, 1.36pm, 1.41pm and 2.32pm.

The Shoeburyness range is operated by QinetiQ on behalf of the MoD. It is used to test new weapons and dispose of old ammunition.

An aerial image showing the house in Surf Crescent, Eastchurch, had fallen off the cliff. Picture: RLH Media
An aerial image showing the house in Surf Crescent, Eastchurch, had fallen off the cliff. Picture: RLH Media

An MoD spokesman said: "Vital weapons testing at MoD Shoeburyness by QinetiQ is conducted to the highest safety standards.

"Independent studies indicate it is highly unlikely structural damage could be caused by noise or vibration from range activity."

More blasts are due today and tomorrow between 9am and 5pm.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey


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