Hotel owner forced to keep business shut now fears for clifftop home

Hotel owner forced to keep his business shut during lockdown now fears losing his £400k clifftop home after huge landslide left properties inching closer to edge as rock continues to slowly crumble into sea

  • Residents whose homes sit close to the cliff in Nefyn, north Wales, have been urged to temporarily relocate
  • Comes after landslide sent hundreds mud and rock crashing onto the Welsh beach at around 11am on Monday
  • Landslide estimated 130ft-wide and spanned across two back gardens, part of which crumbled onto beach

A hotel owner who was forced to keep his business shut during lockdown now fears losing his £400,000 clifftop home after a huge landslide left properties inching closer to the edge.

Rock continues to slowly crumble into the sea in Nefyn, north Wales, where homeowners whose properties sit close to the drop have been advised to relocate ‘until further notice’ as emergency teams evaluate the scene. 

It comes after a huge landslide sent hundreds of tons of mud crashing onto the Welsh beach at around 11am on Monday – leaving a large pile of dirt and rubble sprawled along the shore.

The landslide was an estimated 130ft-wide and spanned across two back gardens, part of which crumbled some 200ft onto the beach below – including wooden chairs.  

It is yet another headache for Melvyn Jones, 64, whose local Nanhoron Arms Hotel has been shut since early in December by the pandemic and describes 2021 as ‘the worst year of my life’ already.

‘We hope our luck will change,’ he said today at his house next door to the worst affected garden.

Engineers were this afternoon trying to work out the cause of the slip which could have resulted in a tragedy if it happened 24 hours earlier when the beauty-spot beach was busy with families. Police were also at the scene.

Mr Jones and his family have moved out of his home of ten years – which sits on a street filled with expensive holiday homes – until it’s declared safe to return. 

It is especially frustrating for Mr Jones, who has had to close his hotel for several months and furlough 20 staff, having only just got the business back on its feet after a gas explosion left the site severely damaged six years ago.

‘This is one blow after another. It’s disastrous for the neighbours,’ Mr Jones said. 

‘It’s been the worst year of my life, it’s a run of bad luck. What has happened now has upset the family. It’s a worry.’

Wife Paula, 53, added: ‘We want answers. The beach was busy at the weekend, it’s lucky it happened on Monday. It could have been a tragedy. A lot of people sit on the rocks below.’

The landslide is yet another headache for Melvyn Jones, 64, pictured with wife Paula, whose local Nanhoron Arms Hotel has been shut since early in December by the pandemic and describes 2021 as ‘the worst year of my life’ already


A graphic shows how the cliff edge has disintegrated further between Monday and Wednesday, putting homes at risk

An aerial view of the cliff edge in Nefyn, north Wales, before the rock started to crumble earlier this week

Mr Jones and his family have moved out of his home of ten years – which sits on a street filled with expensive holiday homes – until it’s declared safe to return

Police tape surrounds the perimeter of the property as emergency teams continue to evaluate the damage caused this week

The cliffs have collapsed onto the beach in the seaside village of Nefyn, threatening the exclusive homes on the cliff top

The landslide was an estimated 130ft-wide and spanned across two back gardens, part of which crumbled some 200ft onto the beach below

Houses are seen next to the cliff edge after a landslide at Nefyn Beach in Gwynedd, North Wales earlier this week

A huge landslide sent hundreds of tons of mud crashing onto the Welsh beach at around 11am on Monday – leaving a large pile of dirt and rubble sprawled along the shore

The sandy bay has seen a number of landslides over the years. Twenty years ago a woman was killed and her husband badly injured near the latest slip when a landslide engulfed their car. 

Geraint Jones, 55, renovating a cafe which he bought a few months ago, said: ‘It could happen anywhere. It’s just another landslide, hopefully it won’t happen again.

‘I’m confident there will be a return to normality soon. Life has to go on.’ 

North Wales Police and Gwynedd Council officials yesterday urged people whose homes sit close to the cliff to avoid the area.

Following the landslide this week the local authority said: ‘A significant landslide has affected the beach in Nefyn with a large part of the cliff having fallen on the beach earlier today.’

‘Arrangements have been made for an initial investigation of the cliff to be carried out.’  

Meanwhile police urged the public to avoid the area as emergency teams tried to ensure the site was safe.

A North Wales Police spokesman said: ‘We are aware of people gathering to take photographs – the public are advised to avoid the area until further notice.

‘The public are advised to avoid the area until further notice, whilst emergency services and utility companies make the area safe.’    

Residents whose homes sit perilously close to the crumbling cliff in Nefyn, on the west coast of Gwynedd, north Wales, have been advised to relocate temporarily

A huge landslide sent hundreds of tons of mud and rocks crashing onto the Welsh beach at around 11am on Monday

A large pile of dirt and rubble was left sprawled along the Welsh beach after the dramatic landslide hit the coastal area this week 

Local MP Liz Saville Roberts said: ‘Truly shocking to see the extent of the landslide below Rhodfa’r Môr, Nefyn. I have spoken with the local councillor, Gruffydd Williams, and Cyngor Gwynedd (council) officers to ascertain that a specialist assessment will be made regarding the condition of the cliffs, and to advise nearby residents about how best to remain safe.’

The Welsh Secretary, Simon Hart, said the landslide could highlight the dangers of a changing climate, and although it was a Welsh Government issue UK ministers could find ways to assist.

He said: ‘Of course it’s a matter for Welsh Government but we have always been very open with them, about if there’s a serious problem, let’s look at these things jointly and see if there are areas in which we can potentially help.

‘If Welsh Government feels that it’s beyond anything they can cope with, and the advice points to remedial action being very necessary urgently, then of course it’s worth coming and talking to me and talking to the treasury.’ 

North Wales Police and Gwynedd Council are now urging residents and members of the public to avoid the area after the landslide earlier this week – which was an estimated 130ft-wide

The area was cordoned off and emergency teams were sent to the scene after the landslide, which spanned across two back gardens, hit the coastal area

Homes have been left teetering on the edge after the landslide on Monday and like police have cordoned a large area off to keep people away from the scene

On Monday, hairdresser Christian Pilling said he had been on a walk when he saw the rubble on the beach.  

He said ‘We’d just gone down for a walk and turned round and had the shock of our lives.

‘I don’t think anyone was on the beach. We’d gone down there about half an hour after it happened. It’s a good 40m wide but it’s hard to tell – it is so big.’

Meanwhile local resident Steve Wilding-Hewitt said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like it. The police have cordoned a large area off to keep people away from the scene.

‘We could see the coastguard shouting to someone in their garden to stay aware from the edge because it was still moving.

‘There are some gardens that have been affected. You can see a bench that was at the end of the one of the gardens has fallen into the mud below.

‘There have been some rockfalls around this coastline for a number of months, but never anything like this. It is frightening.’

A pile of dirt and rubble sprawled along the beach and into the sea after the dramatic landslide on Nefyn Beach

Elsewhere, Joan Coppin, who lives near the beach, told the BBC: ‘It’s taken land from the bottom of holiday homes on Rhodfar Mor – we have got local people to the right of those and they are in quite a precarious place, I would say.

‘Us locals don’t go there when the tide is coming in. The whole of the area – about two-and-a-half miles – has coastal erosion. We have had big landslides before.’ 

Nefyn Beach is known for its clear blue waters along with stunning views of the bay, and the distant three peaks of The Rival Mountains (Yr Eifl) to the east.

In 2001 Shirley Race, 58, was killed and her husband Donald, 63, was seriously injured in Nefyn when a landslide swept their car over the cliff and into the sea.

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