Original article from Kent Live
Lorry driver Edd Cane and his wife Lynn now live about five yards from a cliff edge.
This would have meant erosion of 15 foot since they moved in.
So far there has been roughly 60 foot of it.
Each time a storm hits or there is a period of bad weather, like in March when a month of rain fell in days and washed away chunks of cliff, their home ends up closer to the edge.
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The 120ft-high clay cliff began to crumble again 12 months ago.
In June last year their neighbours’ home tumbled over the edge along with their car, leaving only the swimming pool undamaged.
The family, including four children, were unharmed but they left the house – appropriately called Cliffhanger – with just the clothes on their backs.
Structural engineers have told Edd his neighbouring property is safe for now, even though as little as five yards separate it from the edge.
The couple told the Mirror they feel “abandoned”, claiming the council has done nothing to defend their homes from further erosion.
Valued at nothing
Edd, 67, said: “It is heartbreaking. Each morning I wake up worried and look out of the window to see how much more of the cliff has disappeared.
“When it first happened, I thought there might be some compensation available, so I phoned estate agents to get our home valued.
“But when I told them where it was they said the value is nothing.
“I asked for the price of what it would have been before the cliff went but I was told this is not possible under law. I felt sick.”
Edd, who has spent a great deal of time renovating the home, added: “Everything we’ve worked for has gone.
“I’ve installed solar panels and a heat pump to make the property eco-friendly but I was told by the council if it erodes too much more they will put a demolition order on it and I will be expected to pay to have my house demolished. Talk about rubbing salt into the wounds.”
Edd and other villagers are fighting to save their properties.
They say they have been pleading for years for protection from coastal erosion.
But little has been done because the soft clay cliffs contain fossils, meaning the area is part of a site of special scientific interest.
When Edd’s neighbours’ home on Surf Crescent tumbled off the cliff edge last summer, they were among a group of 30 who were evacuated and put into emergency accommodation.
They had to spend two months in a caravan park before moving back.
Edd, who underwent surgery for lung cancer last year and was shielding at the time, said they have been told to think about permanently moving, but they are financially stuck.
He said this could be the reality for other communities around the country at risk of coastal erosion.
With no compensation or plan to help rehome these villagers, they say they have no option but to stay and fight to save their properties.
Edd and others are now desperately trying to rebuild the cliff with soil, although they have been ordered by Swale council to stop.
The authority says it is concerned about the “ecological effect” the soil dumping would have on the adjacent site of special scientific interest.
Edd said: “What I don’t understand is that the SSSI is supposed to protect the environment and wildlife. How the hell is letting all of that go protecting the environment or the wildlife?
“It’s not costing the council anything, but shoring up the cliff will hold our homes back.”