FIVE Lyme Regis chalets are today being torn down and another six face uncertain futures following a series of landslips.
The holiday homes have been left in a precarious position at Ware Cliff and the owners have been forced to demolish.
Town councillors have also delivered bad news to the owners of six other chalets who will not be given site licences while the Ware Cliff and Monmouth beach area is still unsafe.
Two caravans have also been removed ‘indefinitely’ after rubble fell on them during December’s slippage.
Chalet, caravan and beach hut owners packed into a Lyme Regis Town Council meeting last Wednesday to hear what the future held for their holiday homes.
There are dramatic scenes at Ware Cliff today as the demolition of five chalets begins.
Chris Edgar, a committee member on the Lyme Regis Beach Hut, Caravan and Chalet Owners Association and representative for Ware Cliff, said: “We have got to be confident that the council will do something in the end because these people have lost their holiday homes, which is devastating.
“One person has been there for 48 years.
“When the demolition is done it will be a different site to survey and take stock of how bad it is.”
At Wednesday’s meeting, Mr Edgar called on the council to make a ‘commitment’ to owners who have lost their properties to be given top priority if new sites become available in future.
He said afterwards: “I’m fairly confident that because of the financial commitment that we have got to the council via site licence fees, the council is going to do all it can to reinstate chalets where it can.”
In his report to the meeting, deputy town clerk John Wright said site licences generate just over £157,000 a year for the council.
Mr Wright said the owners of the condemned chalets are in a ‘sad’ position but warned there is a slim chance of them being put back on the site in future.
“Once those sites are lost, by and large they don’t come back,” he said.
“But if opportunities become available for sites in future, we could use some sort of scheme or waiting list that prioritises people who have lost their chalets.
“It seems to be the decent and right and proper thing to do.”
Another six chalets – two at Monmouth and four at Ware – will not be issued site licences until the area is deemed safe, a ground stability assessment is carried out, and planning consent is secured.
There are growing concerns for the whole site because planning consent is temporary and expires on June 30.
Mr Wright said: “If I was in the West Dorset District Council planning department I would be more nervous about issuing planning consent than I would have been five years ago.”
Coun Michaela Ellis said it would be important to secure planning permission for the benefit of the council and visitors.
She suggested splitting the site into several sections so if permission is refused for one area, it would not affect the whole site.