'I can't begin to describe my sadness when it no longer exists': Homeowners on eroded Skipsea coastline demand action

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Damon Green

A homeowner whose house is just metres from falling into the sea said she feels "totally abandoned" by the authorities, as councillors pledged to lobby the Government for more funding.

Deborah Hawksley has a holiday chalet on Green Lane, Skipsea, where residents have been told their homes are among 24 on the East Yorkshire coast that will be lost to coastal erosion within the next five years.

Ms Hawksley, whose family have owned a property on the cliff top since 1934, told ITV News "it's where my heart is," adding: "I can't begin to describe the sadness when it no longer exists".

  • Satellite images from the past 17 years show the impact of erosion on Green Lane in Skipsea:

On Wednesday East Riding of Yorkshire Council met to discuss a recent report that found areas of the Holderness Coast were eroding at a rate of more than one metre each month.

Councillors are calling on the Government to provide funding for affected residents - who face paying thousands of pounds to demolish their own homes and relocate.

Ms Hawksley said facing a bill to demolish her own home was a "bitter pill to swallow," the 61-year-old estimated the cost could come to about £6,000.

Faced with losing her property, Ms Hawksley said the Government must do more to fund sea defences from what she said is a problem that is "not going to stop".

She added: "Particularly with the rising tides, the sea-levels coming up all the time [and] climate change - it's going to get worst".

The former professional opera singer estimated she and family might be forced to move out "maybe even this year".

"I believe when it reaches 9.2 metres they will serve notice on us to evict us.

"Once this has gone then we lose our little slice of paradise."

The 61-year-old said: "It seems like we are totally abandoned, like they have no thought or compassion for our situation, for the fact that we are losing our homes.

"There are times when the sea is literally hitting this cliff, coming halfway up and then a wall of sea cascading right up into the sky and then you realise that it’s just a matter of metres from your home."

  • Skipsea residents call on the Government to do more to stop coastal erosion:

East Riding of Yorkshire Council says it is continuing to work with communities where defences are not sustainable.

Principal sustainable development officer, Richard Jackson, said the council had "limited" financial support to help residents cover the cost of demolishing their properties – which can cost between £15,000 and £40,000 – but they are continuing to ask the Government for funding.

The report presented to the council’s Environment and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee found the coastline is eroding at a rate of between 0.5m and 4m each year.

It found some areas, however, recorded losses in six months that were nearly double the annual rate.

The coastline is now just a few metres from these houses in Skipsea Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

Findings in the report predict erosion on the East Riding coastline is likely to increase in future due to climate change and will put 24 homes in Skipsea at risk by 2025.

But it warns a "single erosion event" could put a large number of properties at imminent risk within the next year, and more than 200 residential properties will be lost within the next 100 years.

Government decisions have been not to defend much of the sparsely populated coastline, with coastal defences not economically, socially or environmentally sustainable for large stretches of the coast.

Councillor Paul Bell told the meeting it is a "very emotive subject" for people who have invested in properties and thought they would live in them for the rest of their lives.