Fears gardens will be swept away after sea wall collapse

VIOLENT storms have caused a sea wall to collapse, leaving homes exposed and sparking fears that gardens could be swept away.

The force of the waves crashing into the wall at Joppa has swept away large boulders holding up the storm defence.

The waves were so high that they crashed against first-floor windows of houses in Eastfield, with their spray reaching all the way over to the pavement on the other side of the homes.

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One family has been told by surveyors that further violent storms could lead to their garden disappearing into the sea.

Christina Macmillan said her mother's home shook like there had been an explosion when the waves struck the house.

She said: "At 4am on Wednesday, my mum woke up with the house literally shaking.

"She could hear the glasses in the cabinet in the kitchen rattling and things on her bedside cabinet were moving.

"She was up until 5:30am just checking everything because she was really worried about the damage.

"The garden next door was completely flooded and the water was 3ft deep."

The city council sent out surveyors yesterday to assess the damage to the sea wall and warned that any repeat of the weather conditions experienced in Edinburgh on Tuesday could lead to the garden disappearing.

This has happened at least once before, back in the early 1970s when the previous occupants were living in the house. At that time, the council reinforced the sea wall with the boulders which have now been swept away.

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Mrs Macmillan, 30, said: "The garden of this house disappeared completely in the early 70s which is why they put in the boulders.

"One of the men who was involved in that back then still works for the council and he said that, as a result of the work they did in the 70s, there was a story going round the council that this house was the safest in Joppa.

"This is the worst it's been since my family moved into this house 15 years ago.

"The danger is that if we have similar weather conditions and the same wind force, it's going to erode underneath the garden which would mean that there's a risk of the garden disappearing and that would also affect the foundations of the house."

A council spokeswoman said there was no timescale for when the repair work could be carried out at Eastfield.

She added: "We are currently assessing the damage that has been caused by the extreme weather conditions over the past few days."


THE cost of the clean-up operation caused by the "tsunami-like" waves that whipped the coast this week is still being counted.

East Lothian Council said repairs are likely to be tens of thousands of pounds.

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A spokeswoman said: "The damage is primarily along the coastline, with several breaches along the sea wall defences from Levenhall to Cockenzie, and also at Port Seton.

"There is extensive damage to John Muir Way walkway and there is further damage at North Berwick and Dunbar."

The city council said it had no idea how much the clean-up operation along its section of the coast will cost.