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Heavy rain sparks landslide which sends Torquay garden tumbling down cliff

By Herald Express  |  Posted: December 28, 2012

damage: Rock fall behind Edenhurst Court, Torquay, which crushed a garage Andy Styles TQAS20121221E-006_C

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A TORQUAY resident woke in the middle of the night to find part of her garden had collapsed in a landslide.

The ground beneath flats in Vane Hill Road collapsed after a day of heavy rain.

Earth and rubble fell about 80ft from behind the four-storey block of flats which stand on high ground and command views over Torquay Harbour.

By next morning it was clear part of the garden had been replaced by a large gaping hole with part of a private walkway mangled and suspended in mid air.

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Several tonnes of earth landed at the bottom of the cliff at the rear of Edenhurst Court, a six-storey block on flats on Parkhill Road.

Residents there said they heard the noise as the landslide fell near garages.

One said: "It was the middle of the night and we heard this almighty crash.

"When we came out we saw a bit of their garden had come to join ours.

"It's a shame because they had a lovely garden."

The garden lies at the back of a large property which is split into flats. An elderly woman lives in the flat, but she was unwilling to speak about what happened.

The incident happened at the end of a day of persistent rain on Thursday, December 20.

Nobody was hurt and no buildings damaged.

Fire crews from Torquay were sent to the scene and cordoned off the area for public safety.

A spokesman for the TMS Group, which acts for the freeholders, Vane Cliff Management Company and Shirley Towers Management Company, which own two of the properties affected by the landslip, said: "Our priority is to ensure the safety of residents in Vane Cliff and Shirley Towers flats.

"We can confirm on behalf of the freeholders it has appointed a geo-science company to survey the area and to advise on its safety and stability.

"We have also appointed experts in cliff face stability to undertake a controlled collapse tomorrow to a section of garden and railings that is unstable in Vane Cliff's garden.

"The site has been cordoned off and fencing erected to ensure it is safe for residents. Evacuation of the properties has not been necessary."

South Devon largely escaped flooding as weather warnings were issued in the run up to Christmas. On December 21 alone, Devon and Somerset Fire rescue dealt with 130 flooding related incidents across the two counties. Trains to Newton Abbot were widely hit by the effects of floodwater right up until Christmas Eve, with a landslide stopping trains due for Teignmouth Station.

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