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Kingsand residents brace themselves for more storms

By cg_ailsam  |  Posted: February 06, 2014

  • Kingsand is hit by huge waves that tear through residents' homes

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The Kingsand community are set to ‘ride out the next storms’ as they brace themselves over the next 24 hours as ‘horrific’ weather hits the village.

More than five homes were evacuated in the coastal village after the storms caused waves to batter everything in their path, including the iconic clock tower on Wednesday (January 5).

The storms slammed the row of houses at The Cleave, next to the clock tower that was condemned on Wednesday by structural engineers.

The clock tower is in danger of collapsing after part of its bottom foundation started to come away.

The residents crammed into the Community Hall where they were assisted by the emergency services and the Rame Parish Council who gave them refreshments.

John De Fraine, a resident of The Cleave, had eight stitches in his head after the water crashed through his house and caused a door to hit him on the head.

Cornwall Councillor for the Rame Peninsular, George Trubody, helped to evacuate residents of Kingsand on Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Mr Trubody will be putting up warning signs around the beaches tonight and a diversion route will be put in place away from the clock tower.

Mr Trubody said: “The main concern is that we need to get through the next 48 hours with the bad weather that’s been predicted.

“On Tuesday night we evacuated two people- I was down warning people to stay away from the coastal areas at around 6pm and when it got to three hours before high tide the winds were atrocious and the waves were horrific.

“Several properties were damaged and doors and windows were smashed.

“We had to evacuate an elderly gentleman whose doors and windows had smashed and he had sustained hand injuries.

“There were three foot waves coming down the hallway and upstairs.”

Mr Trubody described his heroic efforts alongwith emergency services to rescue people out of windows while there was a power cut plunging them into complete darkness.

They had to board up about 17 houses in total and were not finished until 3.30am on Tuesday night.

Mr Trubody said: “On Wednesday morning the area was completely decimated and 60 or 50 people had to help clear up the mess-there was community spirit.”

Dave Mutch, Rame Parish councillor for environment and Kingsand resident, said he’d never seen weather like it in 25 years of living in the village.

He said the powerful waves had not only eroded away the building’s foundations but they had also smashed through upper windows, sending water pouring through the building and into the basement below.

Mr Mutch said: “I have never seen anything like it with water going over buildings crashing over balconies and roofs all over the sea front.

“We are securing the outside of the Institute in case of a bigger storm in the next 24 hours.

“We will restrict public access to Kingsand and Cawsand coastal areas- the beaches and the immediate vicinity of the clock tower.

“We have now removed the valuable assets from the clock tower including tapestries, paintings and silver wear.

“We are waiting to see the impact of the storms and by next week we will know how the building has impacted them.

“There has been no further damage last night but we will ride out the next storms.

“It may be that the clock tower and Institute may need to be taken down- it would be a huge loss to the village as a major attraction.”

Cafes and holiday homes have been boarded up along the Kingsand coastal areas.

The clock tower is attached to a community hall, known as the Institute where events are held.

The clock tower was erected to commemorate the coronation of King George V and is attached to the institute building.

It is home to key artefacts and also contains a large cross-stitch tapestry picture of the two villages which was made by residents to commemorate the golden jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.

A spokesman for Cornwall Council said: “We have got four people in bed and breakfast.

“Structural engineers are assessing the situation and the clock tower.”

After earlier meetings with a number of public bodies, Institute trustees have commissioned John Grimes Partnership, structural engineers to undertake further structural studies of the clock tower building, according to the Rame Parish Council.

On Monday there will be a public meeting at the Community Hall in Kingsand to give advice.

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