Decades of coastal erosion have left a historic coastguard cottage teetering inches from a cliff, while experts warn the arrival of Storm Ciaran could cause further damage and put it in further danger.
The cottage, one of seven terraced houses built for the Coast Guard between 1800 and 1820, is the latest to potentially face demolition after its neighboring house was demolished over four weeks in 2014.
The property in Birling Gap, near Eastbourne, East Sussex, is one of four remaining and will be the next to be demolished as coastal erosion continues to threaten it.
With wind gusts of more than 100mph already occurring across the British Isles on Thursday and amber weather warnings in place along the south coast, there are fears that Storm Ciaran could cause further erosion.
Two of the seven houses were demolished in 1994 and the early 2000s.
The seafront at Birling Gap in 1940, when all seven coastguard cottages remained intact
The historic cottage is now just inches from the edge of the cliff
Particularly bad weather in 2014 resulted in three meters of rock being lost in just three months.
Engineer Graham Kean, from Wealden District Council, warned that the fourth cottage – which now sits dangerously close to the edge of the cliff – only has 10 years left and that this life expectancy will end in 2023.
The National Trust, which is responsible for this stretch of coast, has warned that coastal erosion could accelerate in more extreme weather.
The National Trust owns more than 740 miles (1,191 km) of coastline around England, Wales and Northern Ireland, about a tenth of the three countries’ total coastline.
Out of concern for the safety of the coast, Wealden District Council confirmed on Wednesday that the steps to Birling Gap beach would remain closed until Friday morning.
Coastal erosion is a threat across much of the coast of the British Isles.
Last week the last bungalow in a run-down cliffside development was demolished after being left just 1.8m from the edge of the cliff.
In Hemsby, about 15 miles east of Norwich and seven miles north of Great Yarmouth, six properties have been demolished this year due to the rapid retreat of the coast.
The National Trust, which is responsible for this stretch of coast, has warned that coastal erosion could accelerate in more extreme weather
Out of concern for the safety of the coast, Wealden District Council confirmed on Wednesday that the steps to Birling Gap beach would remain closed until Friday morning
Bulldozers moved in as the owner told MailOnline she was “heartbroken” about the decision.
The council said it had offered her “all appropriate support”.
Earlier this year the government said a proposed maritime defense project for Hemsby was ineligible for funding implementation.
Fears of erosion emerged as Storm Ciaran caused chaos in southern Britain as 104mph storms caused thousands of homes to lose power, schools to close, railway lines to be blocked and ferries to be grounded.
The Channel Islands were hardest hit. Dozens of homes in Jersey were evacuated as a tornado ripped through the area, knocking down trees and smashing windows with huge hailstones.
Hundreds of schools in southern England were closed due to the risk to pupils and there was a serious incident in Hampshire amid concerns about pressure on local services.
While the Met Office yellow warnings have now ended, yellow warnings for wind and rain remain in place for southern England and Wales until midnight tonight.
A rain warning for the east coast from Hull to Aberdeen is in effect until 6am tomorrow, before there is another warning for the southeast from 3pm to midnight on Saturday.
The Met Office confirmed that Storm Ciaran set a new record for the lowest mean sea level pressure recorded in England in November, with a reading of 953.3 hPa (mb) at Plymouth in Devon – compared to the previous low of 959, 7 hPa (mb). 1916.