York & North Yorkshire

Whitby landslip: Five houses to be demolished

Media captionScarborough Council told the BBC's Danny Savage that the houses would have to be taken down "brick by brick"

The demolition of five properties left hanging over a sheer drop after a landslip is due to start on Friday afternoon, a council has confirmed.

The landslide, during Tuesday night, left the row of terraced houses on Aelfleda Terrace in Whitby, North Yorkshire, structurally unsafe.

Scarborough Council said the houses would be taken down "brick by brick".

It said the cause of the landslide was not known and only one of the properties was occupied.

The others were either empty or holiday lets, it added.

'Absolutely diabolical'

Councillor Mike Cockerill said some of the debris had damaged buildings further down the slope.

The terrace of fishermens' cottages, which are more than 100 years old, overlook the seaside town from the east side of the River Esk and are just a few hundred yards from the historic Whitby Abbey.

Resident Jude Knight, who was forced to leave her home, found alternative accommodation, Mr Cockerill said.

The demolition work will start at the rear of the homes, the council said.

Because of lack of space around the site and the need to ensure the properties do not collapse down the slope work will be carried out in a "steady, step by step" manner, it added.

"The access [to the properties] is absolutely diabolical," said Mr Cockerill.

"We're having discussions with the demolition engineers and we're going to be looking at laying down an aluminium road for the heavy plant to come over, and then reach over possibly with a man-riding basket [hydraulic platform] to knock the buildings down almost brick by brick."

'Precise manner'

Demolition contractors are expected to work throughout the night, over the weekend and into next week, the council said.

It remains unclear how long the work to bring down the five properties will take.

A spokesman for Scarborough Borough Council said: "It is important the work is done in a careful, controlled and precise manner because of the instability on the site".

The area experienced huge amounts of rainfall earlier in the week with the nearby RAF station at Fylingdales named as one of the wettest areas in the UK on Tuesday.

Alan Tomlinson, owner of one of the affected properties, said he believed the cause of the landslip was due to drainage issues caused by work carried out by Yorkshire Water.

Yorkshire Water said it was committed to "working with the property owners and the council to understand what's happened".

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