Skipsea woman refuses to leave ‘high risk’ home

On the Edge.'Janet Ellis refusing to move home despite the dangers from the cliff being eroded.'Green Lane Skipsea,'NBFP PA1343-3a
On the Edge.'Janet Ellis refusing to move home despite the dangers from the cliff being eroded.'Green Lane Skipsea,'NBFP PA1343-3a

A proud home owner has refused to move from her cliff-top property despite it being at ‘high risk’ from coastal erosion.

Janet Ellis, 68, has lived in Green Lane, Skipsea for 28 years and intends to stay put until East Riding of Yorkshire Council cover the expense of moving.

“I won’t move, I just won’t move,” said Ms Ellis, who has witnessed the North Sea creep ever closer to her home, eating away half her garden.

She said: “Where am I going to go? I would never move out until I was compensated, they have known about this for years and years.

“This is where I want to spend the rest of my life.”

Through the Coastal Pathfinder Scheme East Riding Council received £1.2 million in 2009 to help defend coastal areas of high population, such as Bridlington and Hornsea, from erosion. However Skipsea has been deemed an area of no active intervention.

Now only £100,000 of funding remains to aid residents such as Ms Ellis with the cost of demolishing their properties and relocating, leaving many to foot the bill themselves.

“We are being neglected, we are being abandoned,” said Ms Ellis, who is calling for a sea defence to be installed to protect the Green Lane homes which are all ‘high risk’ - the penultimate stage before residents are evicted.

She said: “I feel awful and I am devastated with it. I do blame a lot of the smaller sea defences that have been built and I believe that because we are a small community they have forgotten about us.”

Coun Jane Evison, portfolio holder for economy, investment and inequalities, lobbied Government with Coun Jonathan Owen to obtain the £1.2 million for the East Riding coast line, and is now calling for further funding from Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs). She said: “We have been very clear that at no time were we going to offer compensation and only genuine cases would be considered.

“We cannot be responsible for the decisions of previous authorities when they decided to approve planning applications, they must have believed that a life span of 30 to 40 years was in order but at the end of the day the decision to build was taken by the landowner, they must also have recognised they were building on an eroding coastline and that was a risk they decided to take.

“I believe whilst this and previous governments have said that certain areas of the coastline cannot be defended there is a responsibility to continue to provide small amounts of money for the ERYC to continue with their work to manage erosion.

“I appreciate it is very hard for families who are losing their homes but erosion is an act of nature and not something that any of us can control.”

A spokesperson for Defra said local authorities can apply to the Environment Agency for grants up to £6,000 per property to help with demolition costs of homes at immediate risk of coastal erosion.

A meeting will be held at Skipsea Village Hall on Wednesday 30 October for residents of Green Lane to discuss the problem of coastal erosion.