Making Unusual Use of a Doomed House

Tue, 02/26/2013 - 06:38 - Amellia Hope

It’s been a sad few days for some residents of Lyme Regis in Dorset and Knipe Point near Scarborough in Yorkshire. Occurring only days apart, a series of dangerous landslides which threatened to destroy properties in the two costal towns, has forced homeowners to allow demolition teams to move in on their homes.

Six houses demolished at Knipe Point

A total of six houses had to be bulldozed on the cliff edges of Knipe Point last Saturday, after a series of landslides in 2008 left them seriously at risk. The 2008 landslides led to the demolition of three costal properties and residents admit that it was perhaps only a matter of time before more would follow. Understandably, nearby residents are now doubly concerned that their properties may be next, given the speculation that up to 30ft has fallen off the edge of the cliff in the last few years, covering a section of the coast more than 200 yards long.

Fashioning Art from Destruction

Most self-respecting homeowners would baulk at the idea of having anything to do with a home that is certain to fall into the sea, but it’s nevertheless impressive what you can do with property and structures when you think outside the box a little. One resident of Knipe Point, 51 year old artist Kane Cunningham, had a very different take on the demolition. Unlike the other homeowners, Mr Cunningham moved in three years prior to the demolition, in full knowledge of its impending fate. Mr Cunningham purchased his house for only £3,000 and with the expressed intention of turning it into a piece of art. Over the course of his stay, Mr Cunningham and others spray painted the house, and made sculptures of its decaying remnants, in what they saw as protest against climate change and the current global economy.

Taking quite an interest in the property he proceeded to place cameras around the inside and outside to record its demise; something most of us only do with CCTV and crime prevention!

There are a few takeaways homeowners can take from this particular incident; a report commissioned by the residents of Knipe point pointed to Yorkshire water’s pipes under the ground were causing the difficulties-although not necessarily enough to weaken the geological locale enough to cause the landslides on its own, it does highlight the importance of fully analysing a property-what can’t be seen as well as what can. Furthermore, although there’s clearly not a lot you can do when land is collapsing into the sea, it may be prudent to consider the further costs of any renovations or improvements you may wish to do on a property you’re thinking of buying that’s close to the sea-do as much research as you can into the rate of erosion and ensure you’re fully aware of the risks.

Something else you can do for both your home and the wider locality where you’re living is to try and do what you can to preserve, improve and add to coastal vegetation both around your home and in the area-salt spray can play havoc with a lot of man-made materials and over a period of time could do a fair amount of wearing and damage to your home’s exterior and outbuildings.

Landslides in Lyme Regis claim more homes

The residents of Lyme Regis in Dorset, who also lost their homes to the effects of recent landslides, weren’t quite as philosophical as Mr.Cunningham. Many buildings were damaged last week when over 500 tonnes of earth forced the position of the buildings forward. The continuous flow of earth had built up behind many of the cabins, forcing them precariously close to the cliff edge. Some residents whose homes were not insured, stand to lose close to £200,000 in property value. It seems that more landslides are imminent, which is patently a valid concern for homeowners in these economically trying times. At least for firms such as - Demolition Company – the recession is not biting too hard.

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