The “unsellable” street: Catastrophic cliff falls threaten homes

14:18 14 February 2013

A view of the eroded cliffs from one of the gardens in Cliff Road Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 7660-06-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on myphotos24

A view of the eroded cliffs from one of the gardens in Cliff Road Sidmouth. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 7660-06-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to and click on myphotos24


‘Three years’ from home loss, says longest-standing resident

A CLIFF-TOP resident who thought he had decades left in his home fears “catastrophic” coastal collapses could claim it in just three years.

John Radford, 62, says a pair of massive landslips in the space of a few weeks decimated around 15 feet of his garden – and that more major falls are inevitable.

Mr Radford, who has co-owned 1 Cliff Road for 45 years and is the street’s longest-standing resident, said: “The houses here are unsellable and unmortgageable. The people living in them are trapped. Insurance doesn’t cover erosion.”

A scheme to remedy Sidmouth’s receding eastern coastline looks to be two years from becoming a reality. Wet weather at the end of last year led to several major cliff falls that saw residents rename Pennington Point as “Pennington Cove”.

Retired solicitor Mr Radford said: “Before the disaster of November, I was reasonably sanguine and thought we’d get another 20 to 25 years. We could be out in three.

“The amount of garden we lost in the course of six weeks was more than in 12 years.

“They were catastrophic and certainly the two biggest falls I’ve ever seen. The difference between the end of November and a year before is absolutely astonishing.

“We are very lucky to be second home owners. I feel dreadfully sorry for people in the road, who are older than me, who are not.

“I’m worried about my property, but I’m equally concerned about Alma Bridge and the town. We’re getting to the stage where banks of the River Sid will be exposed – and that stands between Sidmouth and flooding.

“It could be 24 months before we get a scheme. So much will have been lost by then.”

Paul Griew, leader of the Cliff Road Action Group, said November’s landslips had been “quite disasterous”.

He said other residents in the street expected to lose their properties within around 20 years.

“Talks are going at half the speed that one would like, while the cliff erosion is accelerating,” he said.


Other News Stories

Bassetts Farm primary were first in the Best Wildlife Garden cateogory in the Exmouth in Bloom competiton and youngsters are pictured with bloom members and Karen Turner from Birds and Bees who presented them with a hamper. Ref exe 2593-40-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Green-fingered school children have been rewarded for their efforts, after picking up prizes in Exmouth in Bloom’s local gardens competition.

Read more
Award winners  (l to r) Phil Ball, Rob Crabbe, Neville Causley and Pete Cable. 
n	Picture:Richard Horobin

Seventy-five years of service to the RNLI by past and present crew is recognised

Read more
You can lead a horse to water.... Jessie the horse is pictured in the bar at The Poltimore Inn, North Molton, with landlord Alan Boddington. Picture: Submitted

No long faces as horse walks into North Molton’s Poltimore Inn for breakfast

Read more
Slade Close residents Raymond and Evyln Hearn who miss having a regular town bus service Ref sho 7140-06-15SH. Photo Simon Horn

Fearful shoppers and businesses say plans to extend Ottery’s town bus service cannot come quick enough - as traders and residents suffer its loss.

Read more
Aerial view of Exmouth Ref: 23-05-0043SH

A new ‘state-of-the-art’ patrol boat costing up to £60,000 could be taking to the waters of the River Exe to catch troublesome jet-skiers.

Read more

Tell us your favourite thing about North Devon by tweeting us using #WeAreNorthDevon.

Read more
Derelict Ottermill Switchgear building in flames on Saturday

Crews fought the flames in the early hours of Saturday morning

Read more
Large amounts of glass can be found on the duck pond at low tide. Ref exe 0151-40-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Shards of glass littering the Exe Estuary, near the Imperial Recreation Ground, are the result of work carried out to try to shore up the former landfill site, district bosses have said.

Read more
Sidmouth, Port Royal. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0934-03-12AW

Anger at plans to redevelop a car park for social housing is a ‘battle’ that risks distracting residents from the ‘war’ over eastern town, a representative has warned.

Read more

Fire fighters are currently at the scene of a large barn blaze in Combe Martin.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 16°C

min temp: 14°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Place a family notice

Family Notices 24

Find a job in Devon

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

FFind planning applications