Families fear for homes after sea wall collapses during storm

Homes in Pittenweem have been left at risk after massive waves ripped down two walls and a path, exposing gardens to the water.

Residents living on the seaside in Fife village Pittenweem have been left fearing for their homes after massive waves torn through a retaining wall separating properties from the sea. 

A number of homes have been left at risk after storms this past weekend caused swells at high tide to rip down two walls and a path, exposing gardens belonging to locals to the water. 

Those living there now fear that larger chunks of their properties will be washed away each time waves come crashing in. 

Rob Allen has lived in his home on Abbey Wall Road for six years and said he’s never seen anything like this before. 

He told how he fell through the crumbling path on Sunday, before watching more of the stone be ripped out hours later. 

He said: “We came back from walking the dog and we walked along the harbour wall here when it was intact. 

“I just looked over the harbour wall and noticed some of the rocks had washed away.

“My wife walked towards me, and I could hear that it was hollow, so I asked her to step back and as I said that the concrete gave way beneath me and I fell into the hole in the wall.” 

Fortunately, Rob wasn’t seriously injured in the fall, but he said he is now very concerned for both his house and his neighbours’ homes. 

While his property still has a significant patch of garden before any water would reach the house, other neighbours have far less to protect the foundations of their homes. 

With winter likely to bring more stormy weather, people living on the coast face more anxiety over the safety of their homes in the coming months.

“My property is quite a long way back,” he explained.

“My real concern is for this property here, my neighbour’s property, it feels very uncomfortable with the storm forecast later this week. 

“We’re expecting further damage to this, possibly undermining that property’s foundation.” 

Rob Allen has lived in his home on Abbey Wall Road for six years

Rob has contacted Fife Council, as he was under the impression the border wall was public property, but the local authority got back in touch to say this wasn’t the case. 

Further investigations are taking place to establish exactly who is responsible for the land which has now washed away. But for the time being, it appears residents will have to face the prospect of making vital repairs. 

Garry Nicoll, Service Manager for Building Standards and Public Safety said: “The properties affected are privately owned. We continue to closely monitor the situation.

“If any serious concerns emerge regarding the integrity of any of the buildings or if public safety becomes compromised, we may require the buildings to be evacuated and the wider area further restricted.  

“We are engaging with the occupants and all interested parties, encouraging the owners to seek their own independent professional and specialist advice. This includes making contact with their insurance provider so that the necessary steps to best protect their property can be identified and progressed. 

“In the meantime, we have arranged fencing to restrict access and direct people away from the area of the collapsed wall, in the interest of public safety. We are establishing the ownership of the retaining wall to identify the responsible interests and agree how best to move this situation forward.” 

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