The sight of two people setting up a camp by digging up the side of a beach cliff at risk of collapse has sparked safety concerns in a beauty spot. It is understood the pair had been made homeless.
There were fears that the tide could drag them out to see, or that the already eroding cliff could collapse on them. The tent was pitched up below The Island House bridge, on Towan Beach, Newquay, a few days ago, Cornwall Live reports.
After a post about the pair was shared on a Facebook page, one person said: “They’re going to get wet in a storm and the cliffs round there don’t help. It could end up falling right on top of them. The saddest thing is the desperation that means this is the best option for them. Where have we got to as a society?”
Another resident said: “I know there is a housing shortage but surely there are more environmentally friendly and safer places to sleep than spend two days removing half the cliff and throwing it in the sea! What a mess. Nobody cares they are building a house to permanently live there. Plus it’s going to destabilise the cliff…and they are still going, and nobody wants to know.”
Some people commented that the couple should be treated with kindness as no one is aware of their situation, with another resident stating: “When you are in such desperate situation logic and judgement goes out the window. It’s very sad, easy for us to pass judgement from the comfort of our warm safe homes. I’m sure these men are just in survival mode but sadly making unsafe choices.”
Someone else said: “There is a sign above that says caution of the eroding cliff.” Others feared the tide could drag them out to sea.
Video footage from Monday (May 16), showed the pair was still there digging up the ground. However, they were not there when CornwallLive went to the location.
A local resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m worried about the cliff and the environment and the impact this will have on the surrounding area if this cliff was to fall down. The steps were washed away a few years ago and it took two years for Cornwall Council to rebuild the steps, and that was in non Covid times.”
Monique Collins from DISC Newquay recognised the pair, having supported them through the charity, and says they feel they have “nowhere safe to go.” She added that more needs to be done to help provide housing for the homeless, so that people don’t find themselves in situations like this.
“They have been pushed from pillar to post and there is nowhere for them to go”, she explained. “It’s not particularly the best place for them to stay but they were getting desperate. It doesn’t feel safe for them to stay in the town centre because they feel they will either receive abuse or be told to move on.
“It’s not as easy as saying they could stay at a campsite because that costs a lot of money. We need more council housing to support people who find themselves in these situations. It’s really sad and I hope they can get help.”