Residents affected by Hastings landslip accuse Council of inaction

Residents affected by the Old Roar Gill landslip have said they are unhappy the Council has not taken any pre-emptive steps to slow down or stop the landslide.

Some families were forced to leave their homes after tonnes of earth crashed into their gardens when the landslip took place in February. It saw footpaths being destroyed and trees crashing into the stream at the bottom of the Old Roar Gill beauty spot near Alexandra Park.

A spokesperson for the Old Road Gill Landslip group said: “We have had to deal with a lot of the practical impacts of the emergency prohibition orders on our lives.

"During this time we had a meeting with Hasting Borough Council where we were told that scientific evidence was not really needed to issue the Emergency Prohibition Orders (EPOs), but it was rather an add on. This explains why the initial 'survey' referenced in the EPOs was done in one day, in a matter of a couple of hours.

Another surprise from the meeting was finding out that the Council does not intend to take any pre-emptive steps to slow down or stop the landslide at this point in time. We were told that doing so, will be irresponsible spending of public money. Last week, more than seven weeks after the start of the landslide, a geotechnical engineer appointed by the Council’s insurance company, visited the landslide. The Council has refused to shared details about them and the data they are collecting. In the meantime, the landslide continues to grow, albeit at a slower rate.“The real surprise of our meeting with Hastings Borough Council was that the officers involved believed that residents living near the Gill were happy with the the Council's work on the landslide as only one person complained after the meeting with 100 residents which took place at the end of February."

“All of us, including all of our neighbours were waiting for the next meeting promised by the Council. I personally believe that a "wait and see" approach is environmentally and financially irresponsible, as the landslide continues to grow and with it, its impact on us, the houses immediately next to the Gill (there are over 70 houses that fall within that range) and the Gill itself. There is clearly a lot of work to be done.”A Hastings Council spokesperson said: “We are still waiting for the final report from our insurers’ engineers following their inspection on 4 April; we know this is a very complex situation. No work can be carried out until we know the likely cause of the landslip, and potential preventative measures.

“The engineers did speak at length with the residents affected by the landslip when they visited and explained what they were doing, and that it might be necessary for further site investigations and data collection to be carried out. This would only be done on residents’ property with their agreement of course.”