York & North Yorkshire

Whitby landslip: Five houses left dangling over drop

Five properties in a North Yorkshire town have been left hanging over a sheer drop following a landslip.

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

Scarborough council said the site was being prepared for demolition which was due to take place on Thursday.

It added that the cause of the landslide was not known and only one of the properties was occupied. The others were either empty or holiday lets.

The terrace of fishermans' 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 metres from the historic Whitby Abbey.

Resident Jude Knight, who has been forced to leave her home, said: "I've never been without a home before."

'Drainage issues'

She added: "I've got a lot of my life in there, 26 years really."

The authority said officers had been at the site during the night to monitor the area for further signs of movement.

Image caption Ms Knight said she had only been able to collect some possessions from her home

A further slippage did occur, which resulted in loose material falling down the slope and stopping at the back of three unoccupied properties on Primitive Methodist Chapel Yard.

The council said because of the need to ensure the properties did not collapse down the slope, demolition would be carried out in a step-by-step approach from the back of homes.

A spokeswoman said: "We are continuing to liaise with the owners of the properties directly affected and those in the immediate surrounding area to keep them updated with our progress.

"We would like to apologise for any inconvenience these works will cause, but as I hope people will appreciate, it is important that swift action is taken."

The area has experienced huge amounts of rainfall in the last 48 hours 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.

In a statement, Yorkshire Water said: "We have been in ongoing dialogue with the owners with regards to the sewer that serves these properties.

"We are not going to jump to any conclusions but rest assured we remain committed to continue working with the property owners and the council to understand what's happened."

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