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Photos show cottages teetering on the brink as Birling Gap cliffs fall away
Cottages at Birling Gap are teetering on the edge of a fast-eroding chalk cliff.
Over the weekend, after another period of heavy rainfall, the clifftop at Birling Gap further weakened, with more rocks tumbling into the sea by Crangon Cottages.
Jane Cecil, National Trust general manager for South Downs, said: “The cliff face has now eroded back to the side of the end cottage.
“This cottage is privately owned and we are in contact with the owner to give what help we can.”
The seven cottages include three owned by the National Trust, one of which is occupied by a ranger, and four privately owned properties, two of which are holiday lets. The southernmost cottage now stands almost sheer against the cliff edge.
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Ms Cecil said: “The National Trust took down the cottage that used to stand next to this one 12 years ago. This is at least the second set of cottages built on the clifftop at Birling Gap – the former cottages were abandoned as the cliffs eroded in the past.
“It’s inevitable what is going to happen and the best thing we can do is prepare.”
Wealden District Council is discussing demolishing the cottage. A spokesman for the council said: “Under the dangerous structures rules we cannot serve notice until a property has actually sustained damage.
“As there is a potential for this, we have written to the owner advising the expected need for demolition and the availability of grants to helpmake good the wall shared with the adjoining house.
“We will be meeting with him today to advise him about carrying out the work.”
The National Trust has already demolished the ice cream parlour attached to the Birling Gap site due to erosion fears.
This latest collapse comes after Birling Gap saw years’ worth of erosion in just two months due to the stormyconditions at the start of the year. Ms Cecil said, for the current workers at Birling Gap, the rate of erosion is “unprecedented”.
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