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Spiralling costs at Lyme Regis chalet site
COSTS are spiralling at Monmouth Beach where land movement has been detected in new sites and more demolition and road closures are likely.
Lyme Regis Town Council is now facing losses of just over £58,000 and is trying to find ways to claw back some of the cash.
The authority has written off income from 26 chalets - nine that were demolished and 17 that are unstable.
Land movement is now creeping further east, with concern for the Boat Building Academy where a large crack has opened up between the school and chalets behind.
The council is coming under increasing fire, both from councillors and chalet owners, over its handling of the situation.
Town clerk John Wright said: “A number of chalets have been demolished, a number have been de-commissioned.
“There might be an opportunity in future to re-commission those sites but at this moment in time we are talking about 26 sites where there is no income.”
And the situation is not expected to improve soon, according to Mr Wright.
He said: “From July 1 planning consent may not be granted for the use of Monmouth Beach as a chalet and caravan park.”
He added: “There's a real possibility that land movement around chalet site 22 might result in the closure of the access road to Monmouth Beach, necessitating the need for a new access road.
“Further land movement might result in the demolition of further chalets and the decommissioning of more sites.”
Mr Wright said the latest slip behind the Boat Building Academy was unexpected.
“A verge of about 20 metres has slipped downwards,” he said.
“It is some concern to us because up until now our eyes have been very much focused on the issues on Monmouth Beach.
“On the edge of the road you can see where a gap that was there previously and has been filled in historically a number of times has opened up about five or six millimetres.”
Academy principal Yvonne Green said: “We are concerned. However we have got a retaining wall that shows no sign of moving at all.
“The drop is quite substantial but something major would have to happen to cause us or our students any difficulty.”
Mr Wright said the council would lose £39,029 annually, plus £19,000 from this financial year to cover costs like legal fees.
He said: “The town council is able to withstand an annual income loss of £39,029 and can meet the current level of associated costs from its reserves.”
But councillors said no more money should be spent in the area.
Coun Daryl Turner said: “I would like to see no further expenditure on the site until we know it has stopped moving.”
Mr Wright has outlined several unbudgeted sums that would help make up the shortfall, including the sale of four new day huts on Cart Road, estimated at £80,000.
Councillors are setting up a working group to consider ways of generating income elsewhere in the town.
Former chalet owner criticises council
A FORMER chalet owner has blasted the town council's 'unreasonable' actions.
Tim Mayers, whose chalet was one of the first to be demolished, said he has had no contact from the council since and is worried about the safety and security of the site.
Mr Mayers said the authority promised to send letters out to owners eight weeks ago, and again a fortnight ago, but he has still not received one.
He said: “I feel it is totally unreasonable that it hasn't been sent out when you have promised to send one out on two previous occasions.”
Mr Wright said everyone who has paid site charges this season has received a letter, but those who have lost chalets have not been contacted Mr Mayers claimed the site has not been secured properly, with unstable areas exposed.
“Little children can get under the recent chalets that have moved. They can walk straight off the beach and straight under the chalets.”
Mr Wright said: “I do concede if someone wished to get in that site, they probably could. But we have taken all the reasonable measures we can to secure that site.”
Councillor's 'dismay' over red brick rubble
A COUNCILLOR has spoken of his 'dismay' after tonnes of rubble were dumped onto the chalet site to help stabilise the cliffs.
Red brick rubble has been used to load the toe of the landslip to help prevent further movement.
Coun Daryl Turner said: “I was dismayed about the rubbish that was put onto Monmouth Beach. “I think it was an absolute disgrace to put red brick rubble on a World Heritage Site.”
Mr Wright said there were some concerns over the shifting of around six chalets and walls sitting at a 90 degree angle.
He said: “The view was made that it would make sense to take those walls down to allow the earth to move to form a toe. “To do that we needed to provide some mass, some weight on that toe, and that was the reason for importing that material.”
He added: “I take the point it doesn't look good, but at this point in time we just need to live with that.”