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Residents fume over Looe landslip repair work delays

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: March 06, 2014

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  • STILL WAITING: Tim Topham, a Sandplace resident moved out of his home last March after the landslide killed his neighbour.

  • Rob Hawkes, The Blue Peter Inn owner in Polperro

  • Sheryll Murray, South East Cornwall MP

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FURIOUS Looe residents have expressed their anger over delays to repair work on a road where a landslide hit a year ago, killing a neighbour.

Cornwall Council has finally confirmed it will start repair work to St Martin's Road on Monday after Sandplace Road residents feared the delay could last until October.

A landslip on March 22 last year struck 68-year-old Susan Norman's property on neighbouring Sandplace Road.

The work on St Martin's Road was originally planned to start last Monday (March 3), lasting for 18 weeks.

But Looe Town Council called for a delay to allow public consultation on its closure.

The works have left the town divided, with business owners fearing it will impact on trade and tourism.

But residents of the four neighbouring properties to Mrs Norman's, who were forced to move out of their homes in March last year by Cornwall Council over fears for their safety, say the work needs to be done as soon as possible.

Those forced to leave are now in rented accommodation.

Resident Tim Topham, who was moved out of his home, said: "We lived there and we have been moved out for 11 months.

"We didn't even get any help on the night of the tragedy – we have been left to our own devices ever since.

"We have had to move to another flat and we are still having to pay for a mortgage for a house we can't live in."

He said it was important the works were carried out – and the needs of residents needed to be put before those of the town's businesses.

"The businesses need to get in a queue – we are very much in favour of the job being done as soon as possible.

"The signs coming into the town say 'Looe', not 'Looe Ltd'."

The works are due to include using soil nails to stabilise the slope supporting St Martin's Road, constructing a parapet at the site of Veronica and installing raised kerbs along the edge of the road.

Pete Temlett, who has had to leave his home, said: "We want this road repaired as soon as possible – lives are at risk until it is done.

"We want it done for the safety of our houses and so we can carry on with our lives – we have gone through hell."

St Martin's Road will be closed from the site of Boundary Bungalow at the top of the road to the junction with Sandplace Road while the works take place.

There will be a seven-mile detour around Sandplace Road and business leaders are concerned this could harm tourism.

Local businesses expressed an interest about starting the repairs in October of this year, after the summer holiday period to reduce the impact on tourism.

Rob Hawkes, owner of The Blue Peter Inn in Polperro, said: "It needs to be done. My concern is access for tourism while it's being done."

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