Coastal erosion threatens clifftop homes and road in Yorkshire

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For years they’ve provided cosy boltholes on a clifftop park - but now four more chalets are about to go over the edge and with them the dreams of the people living in them.

Coastal erosion is relentless and over the past 25 years the sea has taken 170 chalets at Golden Sands Park in Withernsea.

Matthew Fincham from Golden Sands Holiday Park, pictured by some of the chalets on the edge Picture: Simon Hulme

Matthew Fincham from Golden Sands Holiday Park, pictured by some of the chalets on the edge Picture: Simon Hulme

But now there is an even greater threat with fears that a hard winter could take out an even larger chunk, threatening an important coastal road.

Ward councillor Dave Tucker said there was just five metres to go before East Riding Council will be forced to shut Holmpton Road.

As well as sealing the fate of hundreds of chalets, it will cut access to 55 homes, and dramatically increase response times for emergency services heading to villages to the south.

The former intensive care nurse said: “When it gets to 15 metres (they have to close it) - and there’s about five metres to go.

Jackie and Pat Duggins pictured by their home at Newsham Gardens, Withernsea'Picture: Simon Hulme

Jackie and Pat Duggins pictured by their home at Newsham Gardens, Withernsea'Picture: Simon Hulme

“It is catastrophic, if we lose the road we lose access to Holmpton, Out Newton, Kilnsea, Skeffling, all the ambulances go down that road.”

A £5.5 million scheme by East Riding Council to install 400 metres of rock armour is well advanced.

But a spanner was thrown in the works by an objection from Natural England over it reducing sediment flow into the Humber by just 0.4 per cent.

Talks are continuing to find a solution. For people in Withernsea it can’t come soon enough, with fears that if the erosion is not arrested soon the main A1033 will soon be threatened too.

Coun Dave Tucker by Holmpton Road which is under threat from coastal erosion'Picture Simon Hulme

Coun Dave Tucker by Holmpton Road which is under threat from coastal erosion'Picture Simon Hulme

On the Golden Sands park, a cancer patient believes the fresh sea air helps her breathe.

But she now faces having to pay £650 to demolish her chalet, which is just a few yards from the cliff edge, this winter.

She said: "It's cruel. I put everything in to get a chalet in the first place and I thought it might see me out. I will miss it. I've got nowhere to go now."

Joan Collins paid £245,000 for her home in Newsham Gardens, a well-tended cul de sac off Holmpton Road, 10 years ago.

She would dearly love to move back to her native Ilkley, but is now faced with “selling it for peanuts”.

The houses are only 30 years old, and she cannot understand why they were given planning permission in the first place.

She said: “When I came here you couldn’t even see the sea. A lot’s gone since then and in another 15 it will be on the doorstep.

“It’s a nightmare - I’ve even thought of leaving it to the council in my will. I couldn’t leave it to my children because they’d have to pay for demolishing it.”

Also in Newsham Gardens are Jackie and Paul Duggins, originally from Tamworth.

They paid cash three years ago but are now left wondering every time there’s bad weather how much more of the cliff the sea will take.

“When we bought it, I was 58, potentially you are going to live till you are 90, and you would expect the house to last that long. But they reckon there may be only eight years left now,” said Mrs Duggins.

“People are not looking at the bigger picture, if it keeps coming it will take out the main road and Withernsea will be dead - it is not just the 55 houses.”

“Every time there are winds and storms we wonder how much will fall off,” added Mr Duggins. “It is scary, it’s a lottery.”

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said councillors were working with council officers to secure £3m of European Regional Development Funding for the council’s proposed £5.5m scheme.

He said: “If the ERDF funding is won, which we should know next month, then the council can proceed with the scheme next year, if the planning application is approved. They’ve got their planning application in and they’re working with Natural England to overcome that body’s concerns.”

Following a telephone conference he had with both sides there had been “constructive discussions”, he said, adding: “I’m hopeful of a positive outcome.”

Natural England did not provide a comment.