Residents on eroded cliff snub move to ‘glorified council estate’

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Residents at a private retirement estate whose sea-view homes are creeping perilously towards a cliff-edge have submitted plans which would see them rehoused in luxury timber lodges after snubbing a site favoured by council chiefs.

Homeowners at Knipe Point, near Scarborough, have set their sights on a holiday village in the Crossgates area of the seaside resort, after choosing it as their preferred option for the relocation of 15 bungalows following a crunch meeting.

Now, they are anxiously waiting for planners to decide their fate after submitting a planning application for Saxon Park, despite Scarborough Council ring-fencing a proposed housing development on Muston Road, in nearby Filey, as the leading option.

Last year the Yorkshire Post exclusively revealed five parcels of land had been short-listed as preferred sites for the relocation of the homes which are deemed to be the most at risk after the council analysed 48 sites.

But after years of breathtaking views across the North Sea, the residents said they were unwilling to move to Muston Road, which they dubbed a “glorified council estate”.

Malcolm Pirks, chairman of the Knipe Point Residents’ Association, said: “At our last meeting the council said if we can submit a planning application for residential use at Saxon Park they might reconsider. So we have applied for planning and we are just awaiting the results.

“The site is very much like Knipe Point. The houses are log cabins, but it’s very secluded and very quiet. The council wanted us to go to an estate of 300 properties, some of which are social housing, which is very different to what we have got here. We don’t want to live in Filey, we came to live in Scarborough, but everything now is just hanging on whether we get planning permission or not. If we don’t get it, that’s when the fight starts. We will appeal against it.”

Following a major landslide in early April 2008, two bungalows left precariously balancing on the edge of the cliff were demolished later that month, followed by a third bungalow in May.

A section of Filey Road was closed last year over fears vehicles could plunge down the slope, and a further landslip in December saw more than 20ft of the site slip away owing to heavy rain.

Stabilising work was ruled out after Scarborough Council estimated it would cost between £16m and £20m to protect the 56 properties at Knipe Point, which are worth around £5m.

But the residents were thrown a lifeline in 2009 when the authority was awarded £1m from the Pathfinder grant by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to help to relocate affected homeowners, with the rebuild cost coming out of their insurance following the demolition of their houses.

Mr Pirks said residents were still clinging on to hope they could stay in their homes following no land movement for at least a year.

They are currently awaiting the results of an independent investigation into the cause of the landslips in a bid to find out if their properties have stabilised.

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