The waiting game...
By Nicola Lawrence
Half of Tony Charlesworth's garden has disappeared since the landslip at Knipe Point began. Two neighbouring bungalows have already been demolished and 74-year-old Tony has been advised to pack his belongings. Will his home be next?
Tony Charlesworth has lived in his semi-detached bungalow at Knipe Point since July 2006. He moved to the area from Hull to retire, with a son and daughter in Scarborough, living in Cayton Bay brought him closer to family.
Like many owners, Tony was attracted to Knipe Point because of its stunning views across beautiful Cayton Bay. When buying the bungalow, he had to compete with other people equally as keen on the picturesque views.
“I tried to get here two or three years before I finally got here. Every time a bungalow became available on the side facing south overlooking the bay, they got snapped up.”
However, in January 2008, the land in front of his bungalow began to sink. Tony is adamant that the landslip is the result of land-water rather than coastal erosion; his bungalow lies 400m inland.
He describes the water which he sees every day running into pools at the foot of the cliff:
“There’s been a mystery all along of where this water’s coming from. Every morning I look out here at 7am, half-past seven, and it’s dry at the bottom of the cliff, there’s no water coming out at all. I look an hour or two later and it’s just a trickle."
However, Tony claims that by 10am, a clear stream of water runs out of the cliff into the lakes and ponds at the bottom of the cliff. He says this happens every morning, and rejects that it has anything to do with the weather. Tony and other residents at Knipe Point are waiting to see if tests on the water reveal its source.
Until then, Tony is left playing a waiting game.
“I’ve been advised to get prepared to go if a crack comes closer to me. I’ve only got four yards of garden left, I’ve got my patio then another four yards and it’s a drop."
Numbers 21 and 20 at Knipe Point
Tony says his garden used to be at least double its current length. Where there is now a sudden descent at the cliff edge, the land used to gently slope downhill. Until the landslip began, this National Trust owned ground was populated by shrubs and nettles.
“All of a sudden it started sinking. There’s not a great rumble or a roll of earth, it’s just sinking because many, many feet below the earth is being washed away.”
In February 2008, Tony informed his insurance company that there had been some movement. But will his house be next to be demolished?
“I think it’s inevitable eventually. They just don’t seem to be able to do anything. The National Trust have been investigating, they’ve had consultants looking at it for weeks and weeks now since the first cracks appeared.
“They keep measuring things, they’ve been again this morning.”
In addition to the trauma of losing his house to the cliff edge, 74-year-old Tony faces an uncertain financial future. He does not yet know whether the £150,000 cost of his house will be covered by his insurance policy.
“It’s devastating really, when I retired and came up here, I thought never will I move again. I thought I’ll end my days here, it’s beautiful, on a lovely day like this, it makes it even worse.”
last updated: 12/05/2008 at 13:52