One of my photos

Outside The Wall

August 7th, 2008 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 1 Comment · Life

Collapsed wall at Woodcourt/Treeview

Collapsed wall at Woodcourt/Treeview

There are quite a few walls built like this in the neighbourhood where I live but not, fortunately, in my street.

Either it is a serious design flaw or they were just built wrong, but either way they fall down really easily.  They all have alternating sections of brick wall and wooden fencing and I sometimes feel that the wooden bits are all that are holding up some of the brick sections.

They mostly surround parking areas, but are also used for garden walls.  And you can see examples of the walls leaning at scary angles.  They always seem to lean or fall outwards which is a small comfort for anyone with kids playing in their garden or a car parked up, but a bit worrying for anyone walking by.  Even so, they are brave people who continue parking under the few bits of brick wall that are still standing.

Why doesn’t somebody do something about it?   Well, Jayne started looking into this a few years ago.  The parking areas are shared between several privately-owned properties.  As such they are the responsibility of all the owners but nothing will happen unless they all club together – and half the properties are buy-to-let with absent landlords who have no motivation to do anything.

Sometimes the fallen sections get removed by someone and a bit of fence appears, but never very quickly.  These shared areas are a real anomaly.  Many residents, especially if they are tenants, assume for some reason that a council is responsible but they are not.  Not even for street lighting. I tried to get extra lighting in one such are when I was a councillor but the end result was that it would have to be paid for by all the home-owners of the close, which meant they would all have to agree – even the absentee landlords.

I doubt that any any sort of resolution will come about, although if a wall fell on somebody I imagine the lawsuit would have to identify the responsible parties.  It would be interesting if our local travellers pitched up in one of these car parks though.  Doesn’t the landowner have to apply for a removal order?  When the land in question is held jointly and severally by a dozen properties with no management company and several of the owners possibly not in the town, or even in the country.

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One Comment so far ↓

  • janeskuds

    The unmade road outside the house I lived in in Durham was a similar situation since the road was owned jointly by all the houses. The council had offered to make the road up but it would cost each house frontage (and I knew one elderly couple who had a double-fronted house) about £1k each. Bear in mind this was in the late 80’s/early 90’s in a County Durham pit village! Funnily enough the council did get the road made up, without cost to householders, within a year of me selling up with a regeneration grant. Which meant the house I sold for about £14k was suddenly worth about £35. Good job I’m not trying to make a living in property development!