WORK has begun to tear down homes left on the brink of crumbling cliffs by a series of devastating landslips.
Residents of Knipe Point, near Scarborough, have blamed a leaking pipe from the nearby McCain’s frozen food factory for the ground instability.
Yesterday campaigners gathered on the private estate as workmen started to demolish four homes left teetering on the edge. They wanted to show solidarity with the residents as demolition experts warned more properties will be endangered as the slips continue.
Four bungalows were reduced to rubble yesterday and two more will be flattened today.
A consultant’s report commissioned by the residents had linked water coming out of the cliff to leaks from the pipe. But McCain denies it is responsible, as does Yorkshire Water. Both blame the inherent instability of the area, with landslides due to the forces of nature.
The protesters held a vigil outside artist Kane Cunningham’s bungalow, the second to be bulldozed.
Caroline Thompson, 38, from Filey, said: “We want McCain to face up to the impact they have had – or may not have had, depending on who you believe. But the residents’ report points the finger firmly at McCain’s.
“This may be an area of landslips but what they are doing has speeded things up so it is no longer natural.”
Mr Cunningham had daubed his home with slogans protesting about “corporate greed” before it was demolished.
“If I had known what I do know I may have had second thoughts about buying the property,” he said. “This was not a natural disaster. It was man-made.”
Mr Cunningham, 51, bought the property for £3,000 when it was written off as an insurance loss three years ago. The previous owner had paid £120,000 for it before the first landslips five years ago.
Stuart Oakley, whose firm is carrying out the demolition, said: “This is my third visit here and the cliff keeps on crumbling away so all the residents will be worried.
“I reckon up to 30ft has dropped off the edge over the past few years along a strip more than 200 yards long.”
The wrangling over the relocation of the Knipe Point residents has been dragging on since the creeping disaster began in 2008.
Occupants of the 60 chalet-type homes were baffled when the first wave of landslips led to three homes having to be bulldozed.