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Looe landslip victim's family waits for closure

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: October 17, 2013

The Sandplace Road home after the landslide

THE children of Looe landslide victim Susan Norman say they hope to be able to move on with their lives after the site of their mother's home is finally cleared.

Mrs Norman died on March 22 when a landslide caused her home on Sandplace Road to collapse, and the ruins – containing all her belongings – were then flattened because they were deemed unsafe.

Her children, Matthew, Rachel and Helen, said they were disgusted that her possessions were left on display amid the rubble but, barred from the site pending an investigation by police and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), they were unable to retrieve them and feared some might have been stolen.

Now, seven months after Mrs Norman's death, Cornwall Council has confirmed that work to clear the site will begin on Monday.

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A spokeswoman said: "It had originally been hoped that the Health and Safety Executive investigations at the site of the landslip would take place in September.

"Unfortunately there has been a delay and the council has now been informed that clearance works at the site prior to the investigation taking place are due to begin on October 21."

Matthew Norman said the family still did not know officially when the site would be cleared.

"We still haven't been told anything," he said. "They kept on telling us it'll just be a few more weeks to wait, but we don't know. We just want to be able to start to move on."

The council said that when the site was cleared, the family would be permitted to request items from the home.

"When it's been cleared totally they said they will filter through everything and we will be able to ask for some of Mum's things," Mr Norman said.

The work is expected to take four to six weeks, and during this time skips will be placed on Sandplace Road to receive material from the site.

A council spokeswoman said Sandplace Road would remain open to two-way traffic on a give-and-take basis without the use of traffic lights.

St Martin's Road would continue to operate under traffic light control.

"The arrangements on both roads will be monitored closely and kept under review for the duration of the works," she said.

A feasibility assessment had been carried out regarding options for further work on St Martins' Road but this could not begin until the HSE investigations had been finished.

"We are currently carrying out negotiations with individual landowners and so are unable to provide details of the works until this has been completed," she said.

"We are very conscious of the disruption any works will have and will seek to minimise the impact wherever possible."

The council hoped the roadworks would start in January and be finished before Easter, the spokeswoman said.

Armand Toms, the Cornwall councillor for East Looe, urged residents to be patient while the work was taking place.

"Please can local residents respect the sensitivity of these works because of the potential impact on the family and friends of Mrs Norman?" he said.

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