Cliff fall at White Rock
Information About the Condition of Cliffs at White Rock, Hastings
The council is aware that in recent years there have been rock falls from the White Rock cliffs, including one recently in December 2019. Some have caused damage to the rear of properties backing onto the cliffs. There remains a risk of further rock fall. The council is not responsible for maintaining the cliff face, but it does own some land along the top of the cliffs, and maintains that piece of land.
The council believes that responsibility for maintaining the White Rock cliff face lies with the owners of the properties backing onto the cliffs. The owners of these properties are also responsible for assessing whether it is safe for their properties to be occupied.
Although the council is not responsible for the maintenance and safety of White Rock cliffs, from time to time it has commissioned specialist geotechnical contractors to survey the cliffs. The council has survey reports dated 2003 and 2016 which highlight potential hazards associated with the condition of the cliffs, and potential remedial works.
- White Rock Cliff Geotechnical Inspection Report May 2016
- White Rock Cliff Geotechnical Inspection Report May 2016 - Norman Court
In the past the relevant sections of these reports have been shared with the owners and occupiers of property along White Rock. The purpose of sharing this information was to ensure that all interested parties were aware of the potential hazards, and the owners were urged to seek their own specialist advice to assess whether remedial works were required, and whether it was safe for their properties to continue to be occupied. For example, letters with extracts from the 2016 technical report were given to owners and occupiers after particularly serious rock falls in December 2018.
What happened in December 2019
Early in the morning on Sunday 22 December 2019 there was a rock fall from the cliff at White Rock. Damage was caused to the rear of Flat 4, 22 White Rock.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue attended the Rock Fall in the early hours. Later in the morning council officers and a structural engineer attended the affected property to assess the damage and the state of the building. The owners will need to carry out repairs to their property.
What happened in December 2018
On the evening of Thursday 13 December 2018 there was rock fall from the cliff at White Rock. A large rock fell onto the flat roof of the ground floor shop at 22 White Rock and a larger rock had come through the rear wall of the first floor flat, which was only discovered when the tenant of the flat returned home.
Officers from the council's out of hours service attended the scene of the incident and assisted the emergency services with the evacuation of residents from their homes at 22 White Rock Hastings. Members of the public were strongly advised to stay away from the cliff top area.
Council officers found alternative accommodation for those directly affected and delivered advice to householders because of the safety implications for those living in the immediate area.
Although there was extensive damage to 22 White Rock, fortunately the occupants were very lucky and were not injured.
Following this incident the council commissioned a specialist contractor to carry out a photographic survey of the White Rock cliffs using a drone. The idea was to see whether this survey would identify any new hazards associated with the cliffs and to share the information with all interested parties.
The drone survey was carried out in January 2019, and generated over 600 images. The council then commissioned it's geotechnical contractor to review the images to see if they could provide any useful information about the condition of the cliffs, and any new potential hazards. Our geotechnical contractor completed this work in May 2019, and the council has recently agreed the most appropriate way to share the information it has with the owners and occupiers of properties along White Rock.
Here is the photographical imagery from the drone survey, and the report from the council's geotechnical contractor.
Drone survey property images
- 4 to 10 White Rock Hotel
- 11 White Rock (Dentist)
- 12 to 15 Norman Court
- 16 White Rock
- 17 White Rock
- 18 White Rock
- 19 White Rock
- 20 White Rock
- 21 White Rock
- 22 White Rock
- 23 White Rock
- 24 White Rock
- 25 White Rock
- 26 White Rock
- 27 White Rock
- 28 to 31 Coastal Amusements
- 32 White Rock
- 33 White Rock
- 34 Palace Court
- 35 Palace Court
- 36 Crime Museum
- 38 Carriage Court
- Oblique Overview White Rock
- Top of Cliff
The owners and occupiers of properties backing onto White Rock should seek their own specialist technical advice when assessing whether or not it is safe to continue to occupy properties backing onto the cliffs.
Cliff fall at White Rock