Historic homes doomed by landslide

The landslide on Aelfleda Terrace
The landslide on Aelfleda Terrace

A ROW of Victorian terraced houses are set to be demolished following a landslide on Tuesday morning.

The 150-year-old former jetworkers’ cottages are located in Aelfleda Terrace, off The Ropery, and have been condemned after land slipped away through the night, leaving the buildings precariously balanced.

Alan Tomlinson, of Flowergate, is a former Aelfleda Terrace resident and now lets the property to holidaymakers. He said: “It’s heartbreaking to see it just like this. It’s lucky that it didn’t happen in the middle of the day and there was nobody in it.”

An emergency meeting was held at the harbour master’s office on Tuesday afternoon, where shocked homeowners were informed that their properties were set to be demolished.

The properties themselves were undamaged, but due to their age the foundations are unknown, and so independent contractors have compiled a report condemning the buildings, which has been corroborated by Scarborough Borough Council’s own engineers.

There was also a fear that any further slippage could put properties below at risk, including homes and businesses on Church Street.

For Mr Tomlinson, this means that he has lost a profitable business. While he will be able to claim insurance on the property, he still expects to make a subtantial loss - and with the house attracting bookings across 40 weeks each year, a large amount of income has been taken away.

On Tuesday afternoon work began to remove irreplaceable personal items from the properties, ahead of the demolition, which is expected to take place in the next 48 hours.

However, due to the instability of the properties, it is unlikely that other household items and furniture will be removed as this would be too dangerous.

“It’s so fast, we’re reeling a bit,” said Mr Tomlinson. “We have fond memories of the place, we’ve had good times there.”

An architect, Mr Tomlinson believes that the cause of the landslip was flawed drainage works completed by Yorkshire Water a decade ago.

He said: “We discovered about three years ago that they hadn’t connected rain water pipes correctly so we had six or seven years of rain coming off the roof, straight into the ground. But we’ve been fighting with Yorkshire Water and they are denying it.”

The incident also raised fears for the adjacent Elbow Terrace, owned by Yorkshire Coast Homes, but engineers gave that structure the all-clear.

Other residents have speculated that many more buildings in The Ropery area may be at risk. They say that when the Abbey car park was constructed, excess soil was dumped above The Ropery. This formed a layer of clay that prevents water from soaking into the ground. Water instead remains at the surface and flows downhill - causing additional flooding to properties.