‘Storm could plunge my cliffside home into sea as I’ve lost 18ft of garden’


A terrified man fears Storm Christoph will claim his precarious home which is teetering on the edge of the cliff.

Ed Cane has already lost 18ft of his garden and now fear the rest of his home on the Isle of Sheppey will be plunged into the sea.

Storm Christoph is smashing the UK with up to two months of snow and rain in just three days and with torrential rain sparking daily landslides Mr Cane is expecting the worse.

Mr Cane said: “I reckon I’ve lost about 18ft, if not more, in total. I’m praying the rain stops. It just runs down the road and off the edge like a little river.”

The 66-year-old, who lives with his wife Lynn, in Eastchurch, Sheppey, said if Swale Council put drainage in the road it could help save his house but mandatory planning permission needed for the work has not been approved.

He said: “It’s disgusting they’re not prepared to do anything but they are doing their utmost to stop us from trying to protect our homes.”

Eight months ago Mr Cane’s neighbour lost their £195,000 bungalow through bad weather.

Mr Cane said: “I look out there every day to see if any more has gone. My biggest fear is our safety and losing our house. The amount that went the first time, if that went again, my house would be gone.”

Last year, Swale council ordered residents in Eastchurch to stop filling the sinkhole because it was worried about the “ecological effect” the soil dumping would have on the adjacent site of special scientific interest (SSSI).

Mr Cane said that SSSI is supposed to protect the environment and wildlife but by stopping the sinkhole from being filled he wonders how there can be any protection.

Malcolm Newell, chairman of the Eastchurch Cliff Erosion Community Group, said the rain had not been helping the state of the cliffs and the work needs to resume to keep people’s homes safe.

Storm Christoph has sparked almost 300 flood alerts across Britain and the Met Office warns of a “timeline of hazards”.

A Swale council spokesman told Kent Online: “The engineering works proposed by the residents in the Surf Crescent area require planning permission.

“The application would need to include an assessment of the quality of the material intended to be used, as well as confirmation that the engineering works would deliver the required cliff protection without any adverse impact on the SSSI.

“So far, we’ve received some basic soil test information which was insufficient to demonstrate that the material used to shore up the cliff would not be a contamination risk and a more comprehensive study is required.

“To move forward we would advise the residents to employ specialist consultants that would liaise with us and the other statutory agencies involved.

“The road and associated drains do not fall to us to manage, however we have offered the affected properties housing advice and will continue to work with them as the cliffs change.

“The advice provided in the hazard awareness notices we sent to residents has not changed and we urge them to continue to engage with us.