Houses fall apart as cliff slides to the sea

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The Independent Online
THIS house, falling apart yesterday as the land slipped down to the sea, is the one nearest the cliff at Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight. The walls are leaning out and crumbling.

There have been warnings that it and another badly damaged cottage will slide over the edge in the next few days, even if the weather is dry.

The landslide on Wednesday night took 50ft off the cliff, toppling an empty caravan and two cars down to the sea and leaving five houses perched precariously on the edge. Nearby roads have developed cracks 4ft wide. Six hippies living in two cottages on a nearby former holiday camp said yesterday that they planned to stay as long as possible - despite a geologist's warning that there could be another slide.

'Prudence' would suggest those at the former South Views Holiday Centre should move out if there was further bad weather, Dr Alan Clark said, after inspecting the area.

He warned that the landslide's rate of movement was difficult to predict, and was linked to rainfall. But they were all right at the moment, he added.

The area was being mapped in detail, including by aerial photography, and the local council had been recommended to install monitoring equipment to trigger alarms if there was any substantial movement, he said.

As Dr Clark examined the area, one of the group said: 'We will hang on as long as we possibly can.'

Hayden Wood, 26, said: 'We are not worried, we will be all right.'

And Michael Walters, 27, added: 'It's pretty muddy, but that's all. It's not moving and nor am I'

(Photograph omitted)