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Road closed and caravans moved after cliff collapse

PUBLISHED: 09:06 09 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:06 09 January 2020

An image from a drone of the cliff fall at Trimingham,  taken on January 7, 2020. Image: BlueSky UAV Specialists

An image from a drone of the cliff fall at Trimingham, taken on January 7, 2020. Image: BlueSky UAV Specialists

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A beach access road has been temporarily closed following a cliff collapse on the north Norfolk coast.

Tony Garbutt, senior coastal operations officer for north Norfolk, has warned the public to stay away from the cliff edges at Trimingham after a massive cliff fall. Picture: Neil DidsburyTony Garbutt, senior coastal operations officer for north Norfolk, has warned the public to stay away from the cliff edges at Trimingham after a massive cliff fall. Picture: Neil Didsbury

North Norfolk District Council has blocked access to Trimingham beach from Vale Road, and including the car park at the end of the road.

A council spokesman said the Vale Road access would be shut until it had been "deemed safe and accessible for the public".

Meanwhile, at least two of the static caravans closest to the cliff fall at Trimingham Point Caravan Park have been moved back, after fears they were left vulnerable to future cliff falls.

The incident, which happened overnight on Sunday, sent an area the size of two football pitches plummeting onto the beach and sea below the cliffs, making the beach impassible due to a huge mass of mud and sludge.

An image of the Trimingham caravan park, taken in February 2019, showing how it looked before the cliff falls in December 2019 and January 2020. The image was taken from a microlight aircraft. Image: John FieldingAn image of the Trimingham caravan park, taken in February 2019, showing how it looked before the cliff falls in December 2019 and January 2020. The image was taken from a microlight aircraft. Image: John Fielding

MORE: IN PICTURES: Dramatic cliff collapse images show how close caravans came to destruction

A council spokesman said the suspected cause of the collapse was groundwater, after heavy rainfall through autumn saturated the cliffs.

The spokesman said: "The cliffs along the north Norfolk coast, including at Trimingham, are composed of an irregular mixture sands, gravels, silts and clays, and have been subject to natural processes of erosion and landslips for many thousands of years.

"The scale of the slip is quite large, but not considered in itself to be unusual."

The spokesman said north Norfolk was at the frontline of coastal change, and the council was working with organisations including Coastal Partnership East to tackle the challenges it raised.

Caravans atTrimingham on the north Norfolk coast are left in a precarious position after a massive cliff fall. Picture: Neil DidsburyCaravans atTrimingham on the north Norfolk coast are left in a precarious position after a massive cliff fall. Picture: Neil Didsbury

But the spokesman added: "Local government has limited funds to deliver its coastal management functions and is dependent on government grants through the Environment Agency.

"However, in areas where the coast is not protected and the value of assets do not generate sufficient benefits, funding to manage the consequences of such slips is severely limited."

The Coastguard has urged people to steer clear of the area and not to attempt to cross the sludge left by the cliff fall.

MORE: Dramatic aerial footage shows extent of north Norfolk cliff collapse

Tony Garbutt, Coastguard senior coastal operations manager, said: "It becomes a bit like quicksand and people can get stuck.

Caravans balance precariously on the edge of the cliff at Trimingham on the north Norfolk coast. Picture: Neil DidsburyCaravans balance precariously on the edge of the cliff at Trimingham on the north Norfolk coast. Picture: Neil Didsbury

"It will be left to nature to be washed out to sea."

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