Life on a knife edge for bungalow residents

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OWNERS of 15 bungalows which are perilously close to the cliff edge at Knipe Point, near Scarborough, are still in limbo nearly three years after their local council was given more than £1m to help them move.

Three neighbouring properties had to be demolished following a major landslide in 2008, but the issue of where to relocate those now most at risk has yet to be resolved.

After shortlisting five alternative sites, Scarborough Council eventually recommended a site in Muston Road, Filey, but this was snubbed by the residents, who called it a “glorified council estate”.

They have since chosen their preferred site, at Saxon Park in Scarborough, and have applied for planning permission, but the case has yet to be considered by councillors.

The impasse has strained relations between the local authority and residents, who are now anxious for their futures to be secured and critical of the way the Pathfinder scheme, through which the grant was awarded, has been handled.

Malcolm Pirks, chairman of the Knipe Point Residents’ Association, said: “They have had the money for three years and they have had the interest for three years. Defra should not have parted with the money; they should have kept it until this was sorted out. The grant was for Knipe Point, it wasn’t for Scarborough to do what they want with it, it was for residents who are losing their homes.”

Mr Pirks said he is now only “50 per cent” confident that the move will go ahead.

Stewart Rowe, principal coastal officer at Scarborough Council, said the unexpected slow rate of land loss at Knipe Point since 2008 had reduced the pressure on delivering a new site.

He said: “This has taken the urgency out of the project as natural processes, being unpredictable, have allowed the project to consider options in more detail than was originally proposed.

“Once an agreement has been reached with residents based on site suitability and of course the cost of a preferred site, the project will continue to develop a process to assist the residents at risk to relocate.”

Scarborough and Whitby Conservative MP Robert Goodwill said: “I would be happy to meet with the council to discuss the way forward.”