‘We have no choice but to move out’: Devastated homeowner, 75, fears his seafront bungalow will have to be pulled down after huge landslide demolished his

A homeowner has told how his seafront bungalow will have to be pulled down after a landslide devastated the area around his home.

Jim Brown fears he will never be able return to the house after huge chunks of a cliff at the bottom of his garden in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight collapsed.

Surveying the damage from a terrace at the rear of his home, the 75-year-old said: ‘There is no way we will be going back to the house. It is so unsafe, and we have been told by that there could be another landslip in a couple of weeks.

‘We have no choice but to move out and it will be up to insurance company to sort out, but I don’t think anyone will ever be able to live in the house and it will have to be pulled down.

‘There used to be a 90ft garden, now there is just 10-foot left. It is awful, but at least no one was hurt.’

‘We have no choice but to move out’: Devastated homeowner, 75, fears his seafront bungalow will have to be pulled down after huge landslide demolished his

Some homes have been left perilously close to the edge of the ridge at Ventnor on the Isle of Wight after part of the area collapsed. Jim Brown’s house is in the top left of this image, circled

Jim Brown has told how his seafront bungalow will have to be pulled down after a landslide devastated the area around his home

Jim Brown has told how his seafront bungalow will have to be pulled down after a landslide devastated the area around his home

Jim Brown fears he will never be able return to the house after huge chunks of a cliff at the bottom of his garden in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight collapsed

Jim Brown fears he will never be able return to the house after huge chunks of a cliff at the bottom of his garden in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight collapsed

Mr Brown, who has lived in the bungalow with his partner Sean for the last eight years, said his home and a neighbour’s were the worst affected in the landslip that saw dozens of people evacuated on Sunday night.

His neighbour Karen Back had returned to her home with friends to pack up her belongings after being told it was unsafe to live in.

She was too distressed to speak having seen almost two acres of land around her modern home disappear in a pile of earth and shattered trees.

A nearby tea room called Smuggler’s Haven saw its toilet block and car park and extensive garden looking out over the sea disappear.

The owners, who had recently located to the Isle of Wight from Dubai to run the tea shop, also lost their car and a container with much of their belongings.

Owner Samantha Buckley said the area around the tea room – which was closed for the winter months – looked like a warzone.

Police and council officers evacuated 20 homes amid fears they could be at risk.

Many residents stayed with friends while a small number were put up in the nearby Royal Hotel.

Structural engineers said it was safe for residents to return although Mr Brown and his neighbour will have to spend Christmas at alternative accommodation.

Mr Brown said his home and a neighbour's were the worst affected in the landslip that saw dozens of people evacuated on Sunday night

Mr Brown said his home and a neighbour’s were the worst affected in the landslip that saw dozens of people evacuated on Sunday night

Barry Bolton, 77, who's lived in the area for over 20 years, said it's 'devastating' to see the damage that has been caused

Barry Bolton, 77, who’s lived in the area for over 20 years, said it’s ‘devastating’ to see the damage that has been caused

Describing the landslip Mr Brown said: ’It was just weird. There was no warning, and you could just hear the ground moving. When I looked out the garden had disappeared and was about 60ft from where used to be.

‘We have lost our cesspit and have been told there is a real danger that there will be further landslips so the house is no longer safe to live in.

‘I have a flat so we can go there, but it is going to be hard to leave here. The house was insured, but I do not know if it will be possible to get any more insurance.’

Residents who live along Leeson Road were all fully aware that the area was prone to landslips, with the last occuring in 1995.

A coastal walk known as Bonchurch Landslip at the top of the road is popular with local residents and visitors.

Heavy rain in the summer and autumn has been blamed for the devastating landslip.

The first many residents knew about possible danger was late in Sunday evening when police ordered to evacuate their homes.

Barry Bolton, 77, said: ’We wondered who was knocking at the door and saw it was the police. They said we had to leave immediately as there was a risk to safety.

‘My wife and I have lived here over 20 years and it is just devastating to see the damage that has been caused.

‘We have been told we can spend Christmas in our house, but the road is closed so it is a worry if food can be delivered. I do feel sorry for those who might lose their homes.

‘It is the worst time for this to happen.’

Residents who live along Leeson Road were all fully aware that the area was prone to landslips, with the last occuring in 1995

Residents who live along Leeson Road were all fully aware that the area was prone to landslips, with the last occuring in 1995

Lynne and Wayne Barnes said they chose to stay in their home after the evacuation order – and spent a sleepless night dressed in their clothes

Lynne and Wayne Barnes said they chose to stay in their home after the evacuation order – and spent a sleepless night dressed in their clothes

Around 20 homes were evacuated on the orders of the local council following the unexpected landslip

Around 20 homes were evacuated on the orders of the local council following the unexpected landslip

Lynne and Wayne Barnes said they chose to stay in their home after the evacuation order – and spent a sleepless night dressed in their clothes.

‘We decided with our dog Boyce it would be easier to stay, but it was frightening,’ said Lynne,73.

‘We went to bed but kept out clothes on just in case we suddenly had to get up and leave.’

Other residents said the landslip and disruption would not force them to leave their seafront homes.

‘I’ve been here 40 years and have no intention of going anywhere,’ said 69-year-old Steve Millis.

‘We did have to leave on Sunday night, but we have all been allowed back and people will not want to leave as they like the area so much.’

A spokesman for Isle of Wight council said road closures around the Ventnor area would be in place until next week.

Aerial photographs show the devastation at Bonchurch, near Ventnor on the island’s southern edge.

Huge chunks of the cliff collapsed, with some homes perilously close to following them down the ridge towards the sea – prompting the mass evacuation by council officers and police.

The collapse, which happened at 9.20pm on Sunday December 10, saw a cafe, car park and toilet destroyed.

Other residents said the landslip and disruption would not force them to leave their seafront homes. ‘I’ve been here 40 years and have no intention of going anywhere,’ said 69-year-old Steve Millis

Other residents said the landslip and disruption would not force them to leave their seafront homes. ‘I’ve been here 40 years and have no intention of going anywhere,’ said 69-year-old Steve Millis

One of the other homes affected by the landslide on the island

One of the other homes affected by the landslide on the island

The damage caused by the landslide seen from Mr Brown's friend's patio

The damage caused by the landslide seen from Mr Brown’s friend’s patio

The Isle of Wight landslip comes amid fears over coastal erosion and an increased risk of landslips due to rising water levels around the UK

The Isle of Wight landslip comes amid fears over coastal erosion and an increased risk of landslips due to rising water levels around the UK

In a post on social media early on Monday, Sgt Radford of Isle of Wight Police said: ‘At 21:21 hours yesterday, Sunday 10 December, we were contacted by Coastguard initially.

‘They advised that a MOP called them advising of a landslip on Leeson Road, Ventnor and houses were at risk.

‘I’m not easily jaded, however, I was not expecting when I walked down the steps next to the cafe that there would be a large void.

‘The cafe is hanging on as there is no front. Several gardens of residential properties have also fallen and the landslip is putting houses at risk.

‘The NPAS Police helicopter came over to assess the area so we could understand how large the landslip was and what properties were at risk.

‘The side of the road closer to the sea has had the houses evacuated, several officers assisted with this and we have worked with Island Roads and the Council’s emergency planning department to safeguard the public.

‘The council have arranged placements for residents that had nowhere to go tonight and Island Roads have placed hard road closures.

‘Police officers are remaining on scene tonight. Evaluation of the area will take place in the morning when there is daylight.’

The Isle of Wight landslip comes amid fears over coastal erosion and an increased risk of landslips due to rising water levels around the UK, and the rising frequency of extreme weather events bringing unexpectedly heavy rainfall.

Demolition teams have been called in to tear down five clifftop homes in Nortfolk after inspectors decided they were no longer safe for habitation.

A report published earlier this year warned that £600million of homes would be lost to the sea by the end of this century because of the impact of erosion. 

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