A WHITBY resident has been left homeless following the serious landslide which left her home condemned to destruction.
Judie Knight has lived at her Aelfleda Terrace property for 26 years but has been told that she will not even be allowed to rescue her possessions before it is destroyed.
Following inspections by independent engineers, confirmed by council representatives, five of the seven terraced houses have been declared too dangerous to enter and will be demolished within the next 24 hours.
When she awoke on Tuesday morning Ms Knight realised that her entire back garden had slipped by around 15-feet, right up to her front door. She said: “I thought I hadn’t woken up, I thought I was still in a nightmare.
“I have never been homeless or possessionless before,”
She reported the landslide and was told to immediately leave the property for her own safety, grabbing a spare change of clothing on the way.
With Christmas fast approaching, Ms Knight must now come to terms with her homelessness and on Tuesday afternoon she was allowed to return to her home for just half an hour, to grab what irreplaceable personal items she could.
Speaking this morning (Wednesday), Ms Knight said: “I’m hoping against hope that I can get back in, just for some clothes and toiletries.”
A resident of Aelfleda Terrace for 26 years, she added: “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I can’t explain to you. The whole demolition thing is just disbelief and shock.”
Ms Knight owns two cats, named Boudica and Beauty. Beauty was at home at the time of the collapse and so is now staying with neighbour Alan Tomlinson, but fears have begun to grow for the safety of Boudica, who has not been seen since the collapse.
The 151-year-old former jetworkers’ cottages are set for emergency demolition, expected to take place tomorrow (Thursday) as they pose a serious risk to other properties and businesses below.
Overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday another landslide took place, damaging a row of homes below, and highlighting the precarious structure of the whole area.
Engineers returned to the site to assess to safety of these additional properties, but as of Wednesday morning no decision had been made as to whether they too must be torn down.
The limited access has caused problems with how to bring machinery to the site and this has delayed demolition of Aelfleda Terrace by around 24 hours.
Ms Knight said she first noticed the ground was moving on Monday afternoon. She said: “About four o’clock in the afternoon it was starting to cave in where the drain runs. Then I looked again at half past eight and it had dropped about four feet. I rang Yorkshire Water but they were inundated with people who had sewage in their house so they couldn’t help.
“I woke one the next morning and had the shock of my life.”
Scarborough Borough Council have been in contact with Ms Knight to discuss potential housing while the situation is resolved.
In addition to feeling shock and disbelief, Ms Knight said she is also angry at Yorkshire Water, who she believes is to blame for landslide. She is in agreement with Mr Tomlinson, who lets another of the buildings to holidaymakers, and said that poorly-completed drainage works completed a decade ago have triggered the collapse. She said: “If Yorkshire Water had done what they should have done when they were first aware of these problems, my view is this whole episode could have been avoided.”
A representative for Yorkshire Water was unavailable for comment.