Lyme Regis Landslip Case Study

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The measures in place at Lyme Regis have been quite effective so far, it has slowed down the rate of
coastal erosion, but not enough. Sure the groynes are stopping long shore drift and sea walls are
stopping landslides but for how long? Not very long at all. Here is my account of the landslip on may
Landslip at Lyme!
What was described as 'the worst landslip to strike Lyme Regis for 100 years' occurred on
a stretch of coast which was due for coastal protection work, as part of a larger project.
Phase IV of a £21m coastal protection scheme to save Lyme Regis from slipping into the sea is being
considered by planners.
In February 2008 the latest phase of the £21m project to protect Lyme Regis from falling into the sea
was unveiled. A new sea wall under the East Cliff is planned at a cost of £4m. But on the evening of
May 6 2008 the East Cliff started rumbling and tonnes of debris slid onto the beach below.
No homes were lost and no-one was injured but the landslip vividly illustrates how fragile this area of
coast is. The proposed work would protect up to 170 homes, a football pitch, the historic St Michael's
Church and Charmouth Road, the main route out of the town. Lyme Regis has always been prey to
landslips. Layers of soft blue lias clay lie over harder limestone which traps rainwater and makes the
land unstable. The protection work will help to pin the cliffs to the harder rock below.
The first phase of the scheme to the western side of the town was completed in 1996. Phases II and
III were finished in 2007. The work there had to be undertaken quickly because several properties
near the Cobb were destroyed by falling rocks.
Residents were invited to an exhibition at the town's Marine Theatre to give their views about the
latest set of plans. Graeme Coleman who runs a gift shop in the town said, "It's a missed opportunity
to solve several problems in one fell swoop. A new car park on the beach would protect the cliff and
solve the town's chronic parking problems."
The Planning Committee at West Dorset District Council will consider the plans in the spring. If
approved an application will be made to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
DEFRA for funding.
I spoke to three of Lyme Regis' residents to discuss their worries and thoughts, here are their
Steve Leak
"I feel the coast should be managed, so that only certain times of the year fossil collectors can
collect because this will help to stop man-made erosion of the cliffs and help to prevent
undermining of the cliff. It's so noisy though!"
Sam Donald
"I think that it is good that the coast is being looked after. I just wish it would work. Its causing
problems with us fossil collectors and everyone's unhappy with the increase in tax just to pay for
the treatments!"

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David Lambourne
"Will the new works make it easier or harder for us to access the beach and walk along the coast?
How sensitive will those undertaking the work be, as they are bound to make some sort of fossil
find if digging into or around the cliffs/beach area? Will protecting Lyme affect other coastal areas in
the vicinity by removing a supply of beach materials? These are my questions, and guess what, no
answers.…read more


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