Demolition firm left fearing for their lives as landslide almost buries office

A demolition firm has been forced to abandon its offices after they were nearly completely buried by a landslide.

Demolition firm Lancebox Ltd, in Kent, were forced to leave its premises behind after its offices and machinery were damaged in a cliff collapse that luckily no one was injured in, but took some of the road above it down.

Employees started to return to the site in the last two weeks after mainly working from home, after abandoning the site in April, but have now been told by their local council that it is unsafe.

The demo company have now been left in limbo, as they are too scared to go and work in a destroyed office but are unable to claim on the insurance until they have been officially ordered with a letter to leave by the council, which has yet to be given.

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Company secretary Shelley Clarke said: “It’s constantly in the back of your mind. You are afraid every day you come to work that the rest of it is going to come down.

“It collapsed out of the blue last time. Who is to say it won’t happen out of the blue again?

“And it would land right on us. We’d be crushed.”

Shelley says that now she’s hesitantly returned, she keeps her bags near her at all times to make sure she can make a quick escape.

Kent County Council’s health and safety department advised the company in a letter to vacate its premises over fears more chalk could fall from the precarious cliff wall.

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The letter read: “The exposed area of the collapsed chalk face is in a precarious state and is liable to further deterioration and collapse, particularly if the area experiences extended periods of wet weather which could cause further weakening of the exposed area.”

It added: “We would also suggest that you notify your insurers of the potential risk to your business and provide them with a copy of this letter if appropriate.”

Despite the instruction to leave, the company says it cannot move unless it is officially served with a prohibition order.

And as the company sits in limbo, it has been left bleeding money since its workshop was crushed with two lorries inside.

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It has also had to pay to outsource a lot of its jobs as it no longer has the vehicles necessary to continue the business.

Shelley said that Kent County Council has given them little information about when it will begin repairing the road above them, dragging out the process even more.

There are fears it could take three years to fix but businesses and residents have been given no timescale for its completion.

Kent County Council declined to make a comment.

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