Sliding into the Sea

In January 1994, a landslide adjacent to Clifton Way, Overstrand took out the coast road, as the cliff edge moved inland by a further 20 metres. In total 90 metres had been lost since May 1990.

The revetment on the beach, which was breached by the latest landslide, clearly wasn’t doing enough to protect the cliff and something else needed to be done.

Consultants were consulted, plans were drawn up, but before much progress had been made a further 20 metres of land was lost in March 1995. The edge of the coast was now 5 metres from a residential road. A further landslide would sweep this away, along with the service connections to the houses, leaving them unsuitable for habitation.

Plans were rapidly implemented to protect life and property.

Each time the slope failed, the loose debris at the toe of the landslide was rapidly washed away by the sea. There was a risk that this would re-activate the landslide, encouraging it to slide further forward and cause movement to extend further inland.

To monitor this, instruments were installed to detect movements and provide early warning that would enable evacuation of the houses on Clifton Way to prevent loss of life. Thus, people were reassured that daily life could carry on, for now.

Meanwhile, contractors got to work on preventing further movement of the landslide through slope stabilisation and improved coastal protection. We’ll look at the details next week.