Owners should consider demolition of cottage on edge of Birling Gap cliffs, say council

Birling Gap
Birling Gap

The cliffs at Birling Gap have undergone a dramatic change in just one month after an estimated three metres of rock crumbled into the sea following storms which have battered the coast.

An estimated three metres has fallen into the sea since January this year.

The National Trust is monitoring the situation and Wealden District Council said it had advised the owner of the cottage closest to the cliff edge to consider demolition (pictured). To conserve the National Trust building at the site the organisation will be taking down the sun lounge and the ice cream parlour, and the cliff top fence has been moved back by three metres.

Jane Cecil, General Manager for the South Downs, said: “Parts of the cliff face at Birling Gap were affected by the recent adverse weather. The steps to the beach remain closed whilst Wealden District Council help to assess the situation. The site has been made safe in the meantime, with the main cliff top fence being moved back. If we act now we will ensure that people will still be able to enjoy fish and chips at Birling Gap for many more years to come. We hope to re-open the beach at Birling Gap safely to visitors as soon as we can.”

A spokesman for the council added: “We are waiting for a period of settled weather when it is safe to go on the beach before we can start repair work. We have advised the owner of the last cottage before the cliff edge to consider demolition.”

Wealden District Council is urging people to stay away from the cliff edge at Birling Gap in the bad weather.

The spokesman added: “The cliffs at Birling Gap continue to take a pounding and this is aggravated by the high volume of rainwater run-off which has made the cliff edges very fragile.

“We are urging everyone to stay well clear of the cliff edge and admire the scenery from a distance.

“Due to the condition of the cliff and damage sustained at the staircase base, Birling Gap steps and walkway will remain closed until further notice.”

For more information visit http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/birling-gap-and-the-seven-sisters