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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Barrow residents call for action to save homes from sea

RESIDENTS in Walney are terrified that their homes could be washed away after some of the worst gales in decades hit Cumbria this week.

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road to nowhere Members of West Shore Park Community Association inspect the damage to the road. Rod Brown, left, and Jean Jackson. Below: The entrance to the closed-off section of road

Wind speeds of up to 100mph battered the Furness coast and destroyed a road in Walney during the storm on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

West Shore Park residents have been promised a stone defence wall to protect homes on the coast which will last for 20 years. The wall will be provided by landowners Embra UK.

Residents’ Association chairwoman Jean Jackson, 64, said: “We have been fighting for years.

“We are in the position where it’s going to go forward so everything is in place. It just needs someone to kick-start it.

“The problem is getting through all of the paperwork and the council. It takes time.”

Residents were originally given a date of September this year for the wall to be built but have now been told they will have to brave this winter without it.

Mrs Jackson said: “We’ve been told it could be as late as February.

“We need something to be done before they start the work. Some sort of emergency wall or something.

“We have never let up for the last nine years campaigning for it.

“We need to stop the tide breaking through any further.”

Residents association secretary Rod Brown, 67, said: “If we get an ingress of water which breaks sewers then because of health and safety we will have to be evacuated. Where would we put 600 people?

“We want to know, what is going to be done right now?”

The waves have destroyed the road which runs along the coast behind the site, making it impassable for any vehicles.

Vice-chairman John Fletcher, 65, lives on the coast. He said: “The waves were coming right over my house. It was terrifying.

“When I came to live here nine years ago there was 50 metres in front, now it’s right up to the wall.

“There are people in their 80s here and they didn’t even get a letter about it. It’s not safe.”

The extent of the damage throughout Cumbria was apparent yesterday, with clean-up teams removing fallen trees and debris from roads, and Electricity North West restoring power to as many as 10,000 homes and businesses.

High winds caused scaffolding to collapse in Barrow, boats to capsize in Walney Channel, and huge disruption to bus and train services.

The road to Biggar on Walney was shut and the A5087 coast road was closed at Rampside for several hours.

Cumbria County Council workers worked late shifts to remove debris and are continuing to monitor affected areas.

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