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Report rescues village's future.

Residents have won their battle to prove their homes are not in imminent danger of collapsing into the sea.

About 24 households from Cowbar, near Staithes, were told there was danger of coastal erosion wrecking their homes in a shoreline management plan report - SMP2 - produced for Scarborough Council.

Experts said the coastline was being eroded at a rate of about a metre a year.

But locals commissioned research by Durham University which has indicated the erosion will be much less. Their figures show just 2.5cm per year will be lost and now borough experts have accepted that figure, which means Cowbar's homes are safe for well into the forseeable future.

Colin Mann, the villager who commissioned the vital university research backed by other villagers, said: "The SMP2 report effectively wiped out the value of our homes overnight.

"It would have had far reaching results as villagers would not have been able to get mortgages or insurance on their homes, but everyone knew the erosion assessment was wrong.

"Now we can breathe a sigh of relief as this key document now contains no references to our homes being at risk."

Middlesbrough and East Cleveland MP Ashok Kumar also backed the residents' fight by raising the issue in Parliament and contacting the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs to highlight Cowbar's plight.

He said: "A load has been lifted from the shoulders of all those people in Cowbar who feared for the insurability and safety of their homes."
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Title Annotation:News Local
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Mar 5, 2007
Words:248
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