Owners lose out in erosion battle

Owners of flats in the erosion-threatened Signal building on the Atlantic coast have lost a long-running court battle to be compensated for their properties being declared uninhabitable due to the danger of collapse.

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Although only a few of the 75 owners lived year round in the block at Soulac-sur-Mer (Gironde), all were ordered out by the prefecture in 2014 after heavy seas eroded the 200m of land protecting them from the ocean. Built in 1967, the block is now just a few metres above the waves.

The owners had demanded compensation but the top court of law, the Conseil d’Etat, ruled compensation was only due if there was immediate danger – and that did not apply with coastal erosion. The government has said it is in talks with the owners on a partial payment.