Riverside homeowners write their home off
Last updated at 11:20, Thursday, 27 September 2012
AN Egremont couple living only a few doors from the house which collapsed into the River Ehen are preparing to leave their own home for good.
Ian and Sue Bandy are afraid it could suffer the same fate as Mill House.
They live on the Vale View terrace which backs on to the river where four weeks ago a broken weir combined with torrential rain caused the rear of Mill House to fall into a raging torrent.
Now, despite Environment Agency temporary repairs, the worried couple are set to pack their bags and leave with little prospect of being able to sell their house.
Mr and Mrs Bandy moved to Vale View from Bedford six years ago but on Monday, Mr Bandy told The Whitehaven News: “As far as I’m concerned I’ve written the house off.”
Mr and Mrs Bandy were not prepared to take the risk of its foundations crumbling and falling into the river.
“It’s going to happen again,” he said.
“The Environment Agency never listened to me when the weir cracked first time. Who’s going to buy any of these houses up here now?
“Next door has been on the market more or less since we’ve lived here and before any of the problems.
“My property seems valueless now, not worth a penny really although it is insured but no insurance will cover erosion.”
Mr Bandy said: “We decided to retire up here but that’s it now. The Environment Agency are not prepared to spend up to a million pounds to guard these houses. They protect fish, mussels, stuff like that, but not people. The DoE just seemed to have walked away.
“These houses and what’s underneath stop the main road right outside collapsing, if this terrace goes then that road out there goes,” he said.
The Agency admitted this week that structural assessments of the houses upstream of Hartley’s Weir including a diving survey showed “voids, gaps and soft joints in the walls of several properties beneath the water level. In the majority of locations these are the results of long-term river erosion.”
But a spokesman stressed: “Owners of properties next to the river are ‘riparian owners’ and as such have a range of rights and responsibilities including that for protecting their own properties from erosion.
“We have installed temporary flood defences along the river bank where Mill House collapsed to maintain flood protection to properties in Egremont and these will remain in place while a permanent solution is found.
“The Agency has carried out a flood risk assessment which found that the weir would not cause any additional flood risk to properties in Egremont while in a partially collapsed condition or if it collapsed completely.”
Neighbour Malcolm Mounsey said: “If the weir collapses totally the speed of the water will scour out the foundations of houses a lot quicker.
“Everybody is worried. The Environment Agency appear to have disowned us.”
He said: “Someone is hiding from us here the fact that they own the weir – somebody somewhere knows they own it.”
First published at 11:06, Thursday, 27 September 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk