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Lyme Regis chalet owners given reassurance following landslips
A GEOTECHNICAL expert has reassured Lyme Regis chalet owners that there is unlikely to be a ‘catastrophic’ landslip.
A series of landslips in the Ware Cliff and Monmouth Beach area since December has left some chalets in a precarious position, with five set to be demolished.
Peter Chapman, the Lyme Regis Town Council's geotechnical engineer, said the cliffs are creeping slowly, probably due to heavy rainfall.
Mr Chapman has been involved with the site since 2010 and gave a report to the town council meeting this week.
He said: “In December 2012 I warned that there is a possibility that this would move over Christmas.
“It is a slow creep. It gets faster at times of heavy rainfall, it’s never been a catastrophic movement.
“It is something we can manage as we see it. It’s not something we can help. It affects chalets and if it affects chalets they need to be managed safely and dismantled safely.
“I’m convinced that the movement that has occurred this year is down to the heavy rainfall we have had.”
Mr Chapman said movement is monitored through ground markers, and the area and frequency of the testing has been stepped up since the end of January.
He said ‘relatively cheap’ measures can be taken to shore up the cliffs, including installing drainage and loading the lower areas.
“We can’t really say how effective that will be,” he said. “To stabilise it we would have to put in expensive measures which are not within the budgets of the council.”
Mr Chapman said major work would be limited because the area is within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to the land forms.
He said that any work within the SSSI would be likely to be opposed by Natural England, which owns the land at the top of the cliffs.
Coun Chris Clipson asked if the garages at the back of the car park have shown any signs of movement.
Mr Chapman said: “The last time I checked there was no signs of that movement.”
He added that there are ‘no suspicions’ that the area around Bowling Green chalets is moving.
Coun Daryl Turner said the situation is not helped by missing guttering on some chalets and downpipes that go straight into the soil.
He said the concrete sandbags on the edge of the stream have been eroded, which would wear away the banks quicker.