'We're second class citizens' say clifftop homeowners

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People set to lose their homes from coastal erosion are being treated like “second class citizens” compared to those who get flooded, residents of one of Yorkshire’s worst hit communities say.

More than 20 houses on the cliff edge in Skipsea are now perilously close to a “red line” determined by East Riding Council, which will lead to their eviction.

Sheila and Peter Garforth who have been living on Green Lane, Skipsea for 20 years

Sheila and Peter Garforth who have been living on Green Lane, Skipsea for 20 years

Sheila and Peter Garforth, who have lived on Green Lane for 20 years, argue that rate-paying coastal dwellers deserve equal treatment to those on flood plains.

When the Garforths moved to the coast in 2000 they were around 52 metres (170ft) from the cliff edge.

They knew it was eroding but say a council official told them they would get 50 to 70 years.

They had 28 metres of garden, then a four metre road, which connected Skipsea with Ulrome, and another 20 metres in front.

Homes in Skipsea are getting perilously close to the edge Picture Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Homes in Skipsea are getting perilously close to the edge Picture Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Now between their sitting room window and the cliff edge there is only around 14 metres left.

But they believe there is still time to get defences built and are urging people to sign a petition on the change.org website so the case for coastal defences can be debated in Parliament.

Mrs Garforth, who admits that the fight to try and save her home is extremely stressful, said: “If it carries on the way it is it will affect more and more people.

"The whole of the UK is shrinking.

Homes on the edge at Skipsea Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Homes on the edge at Skipsea Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

“Eventually they will have to do something, but there is going to be a lot of casualties on the way, if people don’t make a stand now.”

Twenty miles away at Withernsea rock armour is to be put in to protect a 437-yard (400 metres) stretch, saving a coastal road, homes and chalets.

Mr Garforth said: “We are asking the Government to install sea defences not just for us, but other vulnerable areas. I think they have a duty of care.

“Why waste taxpayers’ money on houses to replace ours inland when there are perfectly good ones here? Using the council’s own figures we would need about three-quarters of the length of defences they are going to build in Withernsea, which would be around £4.125m.

"Using the current average property price our homes are worth about the same – £4.114m.”

They cannot access insurance that covers erosion and unlike flood victims, who are encouraged to protect their own homes, they are prevented from building their own defences.

Mr Garforth said: “We need a champion in Government, we have been let down locally and nationally. Farmers are suffering too, losing land and no one is speaking up for the farmers.”

The pair love their home and its views on clear days of Bridlington Bay, but Mrs Garforth said it was not easy living with the prospect of losing everything.

Their windows onto their garden are barricaded with tyres, a legacy of the 2018 Beast from the East which threw waves over their house.

They will come in use again at the spring equinox, when their home will be threatened by high tides

She said: “I’m a tough person, but it gets to you. It is anxiety as to what is going to happen.

"You are thinking to yourself, should I get my clothes packed up and get rid of things I don’t need, so I don’t have to wake up one morning and stuff everything into a bag.”

Visit www.change.org/p/the-government-save-our-homes-from-the-ravages-of-the-sea.