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Neighbours launch plan to tackle cliffs erosion at Eastchurch

A £30,000 plan has been put forward to save properties from falling into the sea.

Campaigners fear that 16 homes in Eastchurch are at serious risk of being destroyed by coastal erosion.

They say something needs to be done and are calling on Swale council to approve a new scheme.

Campaigner Malcolm Newell
Campaigner Malcolm Newell

Peter MacDonald has put forward proposals he believes will allow the cliffs to absorb more water.

Calling the erosion in the last two years “horrendous”, the Minster parish councillor says that urgent action is required.

His measures include planting grass and willow and birch seedlings to hold the soil together and soak up surface water.

A biodegradable mesh would also be laid over the banks with the aim of holding the land together long enough for the vegetation to take hold without being washed away.

A planning application has been submitted to install measures aimed at protecting properties in Surf Crescent and Third Avenue, Eastchurch, from disappearing over the precipice.

Peter MacDonald, of Chequers Road, Minster, researched and came up with the scheme.

He said: “We found that there’s a solution that will help stabilise the face of the cliff and by doing that it will assist in saving properties.

“The losses in the past couple of years, possibly due to climate change, have been absolutely horrendous. Increased rainfall at certain times causes the cliffs to slip down, that’s the major problem, and where there’s vegetation you can see it holds it together.

Cllr Peter MacDonald
Cllr Peter MacDonald

“I obviously love the Island and unless we do something ourselves, nothing will ever get done.”

Mr MacDonald, who is also a Minster parish councillor, estimated the cost of the scheme would be £30,000 and it would not take long to implement as the matting could be “rolled out like a carpet”.

“I obviously love the Island and unless we do something ourselves, nothing will ever get done” - Peter MacDonald

He said Swale council had agreed to foot the bill, but a spokesman from the local authority was not able to confirm this.

He added the measures are intended to stabilise the area and they would be a short- to medium-term solution in order to buy some time until something more permanent, such as groynes, could be put in place.

Eastchurch Gap Cliff Erosion Community Group, which was set up before Christmas to campaign for preventative work, has called on Swale council to back the plan.

Chairman Malcolm Newell said: “This needs to be done as soon as possible. We are now moving towards the winter months, and with all the rain we have been promised, they won’t be able to get down there soon.”

He feels the council is “dragging its heels” and unless something is done soon, homes could be lost.

The 65-year-old said 16 properties are at risk and since he and his wife Jennifer moved to Surf Crescent in 2001, they have witnessed about 35ft of land disappear over the edge.

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