Major cliff fall at site marked for controversial luxury development just yards from houses as residents are warned to stay away with ‘much more’ expected to fall in next few hours
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A major cliff at a beach where a controversial luxury housing development is planned has collapsed just yards away from houses, with residents warned to stay away as ‘much more’ is expected to fall over the next few hours.

Dramatic footage shows the cliff, located at Whipsiderry Beach in Newquay, Cornwall, crumbling at around 1.30pm today, with rocks seen tumbling down at speed and a cliff face collapsing. No injuries have been reported.

The cliff is said to have been left unstable following a series of similar cliff collapses in the area throughout the year, but campaigners say it is the ‘biggest fall’ so far.

Drone footage of the scene shows the extent of the collapse, with a large portion of the cliff edge missing, as well as part of the fence, which now sits buried on the beach. 

Furious locals in Newquay have been joined by Prince William and Love Island Star Lucie Donlan in fighting plans to concrete up the wild cliff face overlooking Whipsiderry beach on the coastal walk in order to build seven £1million second homes. 

The cliff, located at Whipsiderry Beach in Newquay, began to crumble (pictured) at around 1.30pm today

The cliff, located at Whipsiderry Beach in Newquay, began to crumble (pictured) at around 1.30pm today

Footage from the scene shows how the cliff, where a luxury housing development is planned, has been left in an incredibly unstable condition

Footage from the scene shows how the cliff, where a luxury housing development is planned, has been left in an incredibly unstable condition

Dramatic footage shows the cliff crumbling with rocks seen tumbling down at speed and a cliff face collapsing. No injuries have been reported

Dramatic footage shows the cliff crumbling with rocks seen tumbling down at speed and a cliff face collapsing. No injuries have been reported

Living Quarter Properties won permission to build the seven homes but in August, campaigners said initial excavation work has already caused 1,000 tons of rocks to fall on to the beach, endangering the thousands who flock to it every summer. 

A large community group set up to fight the development – including model and keen surfer Ms Donlan, who starred on Love Island in 2019 – has so far been ignored by Cornwall Council.

Earlier this year she was among hundreds who staged a demonstration, linking arms to stop attempts by diggers to begin excavating the caves below.

But work was stopped only when the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns part of the beach, responded to a plea from the group to use its ‘power and position of authority’ to stop the destruction.

The Duchy – which William inherited when his father became King – suspended the licence which gave builders access to the beach until it could prove the plans were safe and bird-nesting restrictions were being met.

After today’s cliff fall, coastguard crews were seen holding discussions, while one walks past to oversee the cliff. 

The Save Whipsiderry Cliffs campaign shared the details of the cliff fall on Instagram, telling people to ‘Stay away.’

The post reads: ‘Major cliff fall at Whipsy happened in the last 30 minutes.. The cliff is highly unstable, please stay away, much more is expected to fall.’

In one photo, coastguard crews are seen holding talks, while one walks past to oversee the cliff.

In one photo, coastguard crews are seen holding talks, while one walks past to oversee the cliff.

In another photo, members of the public can be seen lined up by the rope hoping to get a peak at the damage

In another photo, members of the public can be seen lined up by the rope hoping to get a peak at the damage

The cliff is said to have been left unstable following a series of similar cliff collapses in the area, which have occurred throughout the year

The cliff is said to have been left unstable following a series of similar cliff collapses in the area, which have occurred throughout the year

Drone footage of the scene shows the extent of the collapse, with a large portion of the edge missing, as well as part of the fence, which now sits buried on the beach

Drone footage of the scene shows the extent of the collapse, with a large portion of the edge missing, as well as part of the fence, which now sits buried on the beach

The picture shows the rubble, which landed on the sand, covering the beach with mud, dirt, and stone, as well as the exposed cliff edge.

One social media user said: ‘OMG!!!! Poor Whipsi!!’ [sic]

Another added: ‘Holy moly!’ [sic]

A third commented: ‘Hell! That’s massive!’

‘This is really sad,’ a fourth wrote. 

‘This is genuinely heartbreaking,’ added someone else.

Leah Steward, of the Save Whipsiderry Group, said around 5m of cliff top has fallen along with fencing around the development. 

Love Island contestant Lucie Donlan (centre left, black hat) joins protests at Whipsiderry Beach in Newquay on March 2

Love Island contestant Lucie Donlan (centre left, black hat) joins protests at Whipsiderry Beach in Newquay on March 2

Earlier this year she was among hundreds who staged a demonstration, linking arms to stop attempts by diggers to begin excavating the caves below

Earlier this year she was among hundreds who staged a demonstration, linking arms to stop attempts by diggers to begin excavating the caves below

Work was stopped only when the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns part of the beach, responded to a plea from the group to use its 'power and position of authority' to stop the destruction. Prince William inherited the Duchy when his father became King

Work was stopped only when the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns part of the beach, responded to a plea from the group to use its ‘power and position of authority’ to stop the destruction. Prince William inherited the Duchy when his father became King

The land above was bought by developer Living Quarter Properties for a reported £300,000 in 2007, with plans for seven multistorey holiday villas. Pictured: Lucie Donlan joins protests in March

The land above was bought by developer Living Quarter Properties for a reported £300,000 in 2007, with plans for seven multistorey holiday villas. Pictured: Lucie Donlan joins protests in March

She told BBC News: ‘There have been about 12 falls since March and we used to get only one a year.

‘This is the biggest I have seen here.

‘I feel so angry because we predicted this would happen, it should never have got to this stage because it is not a sustainable site.

‘I don’t see how they can develop that land safely.’

Whipsiderry is ‘the last wild beach in the area’, campaigners say. Its cliffs provide a vital nesting site for seabirds called fulmars and an important habitat for bats, the Cornish chough and kestrels.

The land above was bought by developer Living Quarter Properties for a reported £300,000 in 2007, with plans for seven multistorey holiday villas.

But the land has remained empty, largely due to the unstable cliff. Geologists warn it could erode by 70ft within a hundred years, causing the properties to fall into the sea.

To secure any development above, builders would use heavy machinery to insert 16ft steel rods and fill in the cliff and caves below with tons of concrete.



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