Scared neighbors of a mother whose dream home fell off a cliff fear they will be next and desperately try to prop up the collapsing shoreline.
Striking drone imagery shows houses swaying on the cliff in Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppy off the Kent coast, six months after Emma Tullett's Spanish villa-style bungalow fell off the edge for £ 195,000.
Ms. Tullett was broken when her home, called the Cliffhanger, was destroyed in four days in late May, leaving a 20-foot sinkhole.
The homeowners of Eastchurch's Surf Crescent had taken matters into their own hands, working around the clock to consolidate the crumbling cliff and save their properties from the same fate.
However, last month the Swale Council asked residents to stop all work because of "environmental concerns".
Scared neighbors of a mother whose dream home fell off a cliff fear they will be next and desperately try to prop up the collapsing shoreline. Pictured: the remains of Emma Tullett's house in June after it fell off a cliff in Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppy, Kent
Striking drone imagery shows homes swaying on the cliff six months after the £ 195,000-value Spanish villa-style bungalow fell from Mrs. Tullett's mother
Ms. Tullett was broken when her home, called the Cliffhanger, was destroyed in four days in late May, leaving a 20-foot sinkhole. Pictured: the house before it fell off the cliff
In the meantime, more land has slipped over the edge in heavy rain. On Sunday, 15 feet of land collapsed from a resident's garden in heavy rain.
Residents blame months of inactivity for the cliff's further collapse and are now asking for permission to protect their homes before it's too late.
Now they say that heavy rain causes landslides on a daily basis.
Neighbors Ed Cane, 67, and Julian Green, 62, fear that it will only be a few more weeks before their bungalows land at the end of the trash as they continue to watch their gardens look out over the cliffs from day to day get smaller.
Delivery man Mr Cane, who lives in a two-bedroom bungalow and whose wife, Lynn, retires to Emma's outhouse, watched on Sunday as 15 feet of his garden fence collapsed, leaving a steep drop in the 20-foot sink hole below.
He tried using clay to prevent further falls, but claimed the environmental agency was there with two police officers on Wednesday to warn him to stop the flies tipping on his own land.
Mr. Cane said, “They will do nothing to help us and make it impossible for us to save our own livelihoods.
“I don't know how long I'll be here. If that amount of land can fall at one time, any moment my house could fall off.
“I'm really scared of what might happen. We live in fear.
“I work at night and I'm always worried that something might happen while I'm away.
“And then when I try to sleep here that day, I wake up every hour thinking it might fall.
“It only gets you down because you're constantly nervous.
“This awful weather doesn't help and that's why we wanted to get this
Hole filled before winter.
“The council says we are posing a danger to the public by filling the hole, but the real danger to the public is for all to see.
Emma Tullett (pictured above), 43, and her family have been living in the new accommodation since their Kent bungalow called Cliffhanger fell over the edge in May
“We don't get any support and they don't seem to care. There are 49 houses here, up from 50, and they seem happy to let these off the cliff one by one despite the current housing shortage. & # 39;
Retired truck driver Green added, "I don't think my house will be here until Christmas."
A year and a half ago he paid £ 80,000 for the one-bedroom bungalow where he lived with his wife Christine, 58, son Jason, 38, wife Jess, 35, and their two children David, 16, and Shyla, 11 ) lives.
Mr. Green said, “We are constantly fearful for our safety. We don't sleep. My son, who has cerebral palsy, is up until the wee hours of the morning hearing parts of the cliff fall every night.
“It also affects my disabled wife. It gets worse here.
“If we don't do something soon, my house and Ed's house could go. I think there will be another home down there by December or January.
“God forbid if it happens to women and children in the middle of the night, it could be a tragedy. It was so happy last time.
“We have been completely forgotten and until a second house goes, nobody will listen.
"The work we did tried to prevent that, but now the earth is starting to fall again."
Angry councilor Malcolm Newell, 71, chairman of Eastchurch Gap Community Group Ltd, decided, along with the owners of 48 neighboring properties, to sort things out himself.
The retired woodcutter's Hawthorne Lodge bungalow was teetering on the verge when the Cliffhanger home finally fell on June 1.
He was forced out of the house he bought in 2001. He says it is worth £ 1 million to him and when he saw Ms. Tullett lose everything, his ongoing campaign for help stepped up.
Ms. Tullett was broken when her home, called the Cliffhanger, was destroyed in four days in late May, leaving a 20-foot sinkhole
A contract was signed with a private contractor to have the cliff shored up with unwanted clay to clear the rubble from Ms. Tullett's house and her orange seat, Ibiza.
As part of the rebuilding, a platform had to be created at the bottom of the cliff for the excavator to use a 15-foot arm to remove the debris – but even that couldn't reach the bottom of the hole.
Clay was used to build up on the edges of Surf Crescent in the hopes of rebuilding the former road at land level and greening the bank for dog walkers to use as a walkway.
But once they cleared all the debris and were ready to fill the estimated 20 foot sinkhole, the job was brought down.
Angrily, Mr. Newell said, “We really need permission to get on with the work, as it is only a matter of time before we lose more of our fellowship.
“The window that protects our homes is getting smaller every day. The time is running. However, this shameful bureaucracy prevents us from making it safe.
“If it keeps raining the way it has, I think Ed and Julian's houses could be gone by Christmas. We can fix this before it's too late.
“Unfortunately, they could be forced to move elsewhere in the New Year just because the Environmental Protection Agency and Swale Borough Council have completely neglected us.
“You really need to fix yourself. Apparently, filling in the hole is a danger to the environment and the public if I'm sure the only danger here is the large drop approaching our homes.
“We could have been done now if they kept us working to fill the hole. This part is already green and is solidifying. & # 39;
The Swale Borough Council said building permits were required to work this size last month.
A spokesman said: “We are concerned about the environmental impact of the landfill on the surrounding area of special scientific interest and other potential damage it may cause.
The remains of the family's pool, which is under threat and located near the home of owners Julian Green, Ed Cane and Malcom Newell, who all lived next to Ms. Tullett
"The cessation of residence obliges residents to cease all activities for 28 days while we work with other relevant agencies such as Kent County Council, the Environment Agency and Natural England."
A spokesman for the Environment Agency, which regulates waste management, added on October 21, “Contractors working on behalf of Surf Crescent residents have registered waste exemptions with the Environment Agency that allow the use of waste under certain circumstances .
The environmental agency inspected the site on October 7 and found that waste had entered the sinkhole outside of the provisions of this exemption.
"As a result, we told several residents and the contractor that we would deregister the exemptions and asked them to stop importing waste to the construction site."
Ms. Tullett said, “I want to know what the Swale Council is up to. I think the Council should do more to help us all. & # 39;
The family has been temporarily housed in the nearby village of Rushenden, where they have spent the past five months.
Ms. Tullett said, “We're in a triple and our dining room is used as a bedroom.
“We're here for a maximum of two years, so we have to find a more permanent place to live. We didn't get anything back from the Council or the House. & # 39;
The family was evacuated from their seaside home on the Isle of Sheppey on May 29, just four days before it all collapsed.
Ms. Tullett said, “That time has really passed, but it has dragged on in other ways.
The scene shown this week after Swale Council issued a call to residents to stop all work to consolidate the crumbling cliff last month for "environmental reasons".
“The only thing that caught me that day was that we noticed these cracks in the street and that there was one that went straight through my sidewalk at the front.
When I called the council they said it had nothing to do with them because it was a dirt road.
“I called the environmental agency and they said it had nothing to do with them. He said it was probably because it was so dry.
"He gave me a number to call on Monday – this was Friday – but by then it was obviously too late."
She added, “Nobody wanted to know when I was going to say something bad, like it was going to happen.
"Now are you trying to stop us from getting it right?"
Ms. Tullett said she was looking for a "fresh start" when she moved to Cliffhanger with her partner and four children in August 2018.
She immediately bought the property for £ 195,000 which had three bedrooms, an annex, two additional bedrooms and a swimming pool.
The 43 year old, who was living in Surrey at the time, said, “I signed up to receive estate agent emails for various houses in Kent and beyond, and one day I got the email for this house and get this house i was like oh my god that's what i want.
The scene near the homes of Julian Green, Ed Cane and Malcolm Newell, all of Mrs. Tullett's neighbors
"The view was absolutely fantastic."
On the evening of the first cliff fall, Ms. Tullett was sitting in her living room with a glass of wine and her 17-year-old daughter Becky was watching the Take That & # 39; s lockdown show on Youtube.
Ms. Tullett said, “I could hear small cracks and creaking, but if you live in a half-timbered house, you get that anyway.
“I haven't thought about it too much. Then the blind on the window behind me fell off the wall and startled the living doo-das out of us.
“My partner came in and looked and said we have to go, we have to get out. The front fence was gone. & # 39;
She continued, “I started running around trying to pack bits and pieces and the children.
“I turned into a headless chicken for a while. When we got outside there were bricks everywhere. & # 39;
The fire department arrived at the scene and evacuated local residents after their daughter called 999.
But not knowing whether or not their family home would be saved in the coming days was "torture," the family says.
Ms. Tullett said, “It was pretty surreal. It's hard to explain, but if you had a house fire, you would have the fire and anything goes.
& # 39; But that was dragged out over the weekend. Was it like torture to wake up every morning and think my house was gone?
“We have lost everything, our home, belongings and memories. The children didn't even have their shoes on.
"Apart from the phones and my bank card, everything worked."
Ms. Tullett and her family have been living in temporary accommodation since their loss. In the picture: the remains of their dream property and the outdoor pool
After five months, the family is still struggling to come to terms with what happened.
Mrs. Tullett said, “It's still angry. One of my neighbors sent me a video of the night we were evacuated. That made me cry. & # 39;
She added, “It's a little easier now, a little bit like a bereavement, a few months later. The kids still say they want their home back. We miss summers in the garden, in the pool.
“It was just a different way of life in the middle of nowhere. It's the life I wanted for my kids, walking the beach after school, coming back muddy and having no neighbors right above us.
"I miss this way of life."
The family is hoping to raise £ 10,000 for professional help as they have "many unanswered questions" and their neighbors' homes are still at risk.
A crowdfunding site has been set up.
An aerial view of the house of Malcom Newell, next to Mrs. Tullett's house
Ms. Tullett said, “We have sought professional help, but funds are required.
“We have done everything we can to cut costs where we can, but we still need to get technical reports to answer our questions.
Ms. Tullett added, “We urgently need help getting the answers we need. We are so close. This could help secure our future and the future of the remaining properties.
“Ultimately, all of these agencies knew there was erosion in the area. Why didn't they stop people from selling or buying the houses?
“Why are companies still allowed to market these homes if they're not safe? If they had warnings a few years ago, this would not have happened.
"Something should have been done."
A Swale Council spokesman added: “We have contacted the residents and have been honest about what we can and cannot do for them. We will continue to contact the residents concerned about possible next steps.
“It is not for the council to do anything about the lost property, but we have housed them on the basis of our housing responsibilities.
"Current policy remains the same as it has been for years, with no active intervention in defending the cliff. We commissioned an expert report to inform residents of what might happen in the future."
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