NEARLY five years ago, tonnes of rubble plunged 100ft onto Bournemouth promenade after a landslip collapsed a large section of East Cliff.

The clifftop pathway near the Jon egging Memorial was ripped apart by a landslip in April 2016, and the toilet block and café were obliterated.

The East Cliff lift, built in 1908, was also damaged in the incident, and to this day remains out of action.

It means for people wanting to access the seafront in East Cliff, they need to travel down the zigzag path, which could be difficult for someone with mobility issues.

Bournemouth Echo:

In November 2018, then Boscombe ward councillor, Phil Stanley-Watts, called for action to return the lift to its former glory.

He said: “I feel we need to get around the table, with Meyrick Estates and perhaps the Environment Agency and try to draw up a plan of action to get the lift back.

“Stabilisation of the cliffs is a priority. We will need to try and get some grant funding, but I don't think it is a good idea just to leave things like this.”

However, three years later and with the cliff still not operating, BCP Council said it cannot put a timeline on when it might reopen.

A spokesperson told the Daily Echo: “Restoring and re-opening the East Cliff lift involves a major scheme of cliff stability works to be undertaken along with repairs to the track and upper toll house, new access provided at the top and a new toll house constructed at the promenade level along with any additional amenities.

“We are currently reviewing the seafront delivery programme and strategic priorities for investment as well as continuing to explore other sources of funding.

"This will take time with works further complicated by the fact that the cliff is a SSSI which will constrain what we are permitted to do in order to stabilise safely, to allow for reconstruction of the lift. 

"We have been pursuing various external funding bids although with no funding yet in place, we cannot put a timeline on when the lift might re-open.”

It is not known if and when the lift will reopen, but the general consensus among the East Cliff ward councillors was that there was a need for a lift.

Just what do Councillor Anne Filer, Cllr David Kelsey and Cllr Roberto Rocca hope will come of the East Cliff lift?


Bournemouth Echo:

“As far as I know the cliff is being monitored by geologists because it is still unstable.

“I don’t think the lift could be replaced exactly where it is at the moment.

“I was born in Bournemouth, ever since I was a child the cliff has crumbled in various places, it would be crazy to put a lift where it would fall down.

“We do need one up there. A lot of residents are disappointed, it is really hard to get to the bottom, we definitely need one.

“We have a twin town, Netanya in Israel, which has a cliff as high as ours. They installed a couple of lifts, they don’t cling to the side they stick out.

“You walk out on to the platform and there is a tower which contains it, we would love to see one of those somewhere.

“We definitely need something because we have a lot of people with pushchairs and various mobility issues who find it hard to get down to the bottom.

“Whether the council can afford it or it could be a good will gesture, perhaps from Sir George Meyrick.”


Bournemouth Echo:

“We would all like to have it back, we all know there is no chance it is going to be back in the next 18 months minimum until the ground has settled and the finances are sorted.

“It is essential it comes back. A lot of people would like to see it come back as it is. My personal opinion is we should have it back, if somebody comes up with an idea for a modern one, we need to move with the times.

“The only complaint residents have is there is only one access down to the seafront, there is only one zig zag for people with pushchairs or in wheelchairs.

“We are talking several millions of pounds to get it working again. We have to stabilise it, we have to right all the tracks, make it accessible.

“We would all like to see it back, but if we can get something modern, we have to move with the times and can’t sit in the dark ages.”


Bournemouth Echo:

“We can go back to having a lift that is useful and functioning for all the people, especially elderly people.

“I think the best solution for me would be going back to the previous situation when the lift was working, otherwise removing everything and just leaving a nice green cliff.

“I think because there are a lot of hotels in the area, there are elderly people coming I can imagine getting down to the beach is not so easy.

“There are some issues with the cliff that slipped down, to be honest if it’s not functioning it would be better to remove everything.

“Just leaving it how it is is not nice to see at the moment.”

Bournemouth Echo:

What exactly will happen is unclear. Since the collapse in 2016, part of the East Cliff has become home to a herd of goats.

The goats have been placed on the cliff as part of BCP Council’s commitment to their climate and ecological emergency and see it as “an opportunity to restore and enhance the special natural features of the cliffs in a sustainable way”.