Safety audit needed at Orcombe Point after teenager fell 60-foot from cliff

PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 July 2018

Orcombe Point at the end of Exmouth seafront. Picture: Simon Horn

Orcombe Point at the end of Exmouth seafront. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

Town leaders are calling for the safety of seafront cliff tops to be investigated after a teenager survived a 60-foot fall earlier this month.

Chloe Cleland, 16, was admiring the view at Orcombe Point with friends when the ground crumbled beneath her.

She survived the fall, spending three days in hospital, but the incident has prompted Exmouth Town Council to call on the National Trust – which looks after the land atop the cliff – to do a safety audit of the ‘publicly accessible’ areas at Orcombe Point.

At July’s town council meeting, members voted to back a motion to write a letter to the landowner.

The National Trust says it will ‘do what it can’ to look at coastal safety.

Speaking at the meeting, councillor Mark Williamson, who proposed the motion, said: “Over the years, there have been many incidents at Orcombe Point all involving falls.

“We all know that accidents happen, but I have detected a growing concern about the safety on and around the high land.

“We had debates in council some years ago on Orcombe and I think it’s reasonable for us as a council to ask the landowner to assess what can be done to minimise the risk to walkers and those who just want to be there.

“I think we need to be sure that everything that can be done is being done.”

Cllr Steve Gazzard, who seconded the motion, thanked all the services that were involved in the rescue of Chloe, adding: “The landowner has a duty of care and I think they should undertake an audit of whether there is a problem on some of the walks around there.”

A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “As with any of our outdoor sites and particularly coastal sites, we strongly encourage our visitors to heed any information signs and keep to the designated paths.

“We, of course, will do all we can to respond to any request to look at coastal safety and work with a number of other partners to promote safe access to the coast and countryside.”

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