The owners of a wall that collapsed onto one of Helston’s pavements nearly five years ago have described it as “a nightmare” as they explained the reasons why it has taken so long to repair – and how they will have to re-mortgage their house to pay for it.
Ian Bugge and his wife live at Rosenithon in Sanctuary Lane, the property that backs onto Godolphin Road where the retaining boundary wall at the bottom of their garden fell down during bad weather three days before Christmas 2015.
However, when they contacted their insurance company it initially refused to even send someone out to look, before informing the couple that the damage would not be covered by insurance due to the reason for the collapse not being certain.
Mr Bugge said: “The guy said, ‘How long has it been up?’ I said probably 300 years. They said that’s gradual deterioration.
“It took us months for them to even come and visit. Then they said that it’s not covered.”
This was just the first of the problems that the couple say they have faced, however, made worse by the fact that at the time of the collapse Mrs Bugge was very ill.
Due to the wall adjoining a public pavement that is also next to a road, a structural engineer has had to be involved.
Mr Bugge said: “You’re not allowed to just put it back up.”
The couple has been given four quotes for the cost of the repairs, which range from £23,000 plus VAT up to £80,000 plus VAT.
“It’s just been a catalogue of disasters,” added Mr Bugge.
“We couldn’t afford to repair it. We thought maybe we could sell [the plot] but no one was interested because of the costs.
“There were appeals. That’s why it’s taken so long to put back.
“Even putting in planning has cost us probably £3,000.
“Cormac want a 100-year guarantee on it.”
Last week the Packet reported how a planning application for repairs has now been submitted to Cornwall Council, for “remedial work to a partially collapsed retaining wall at the rear of the property” at Rosenithon in Sanctuary Lane.
The application shows plans for repair work that would include rockfall protection netting, a biodegradable ‘erosion control mat’ and four rows of aluminium bronze ‘anchor heads’ to be driven into the earth, in a bid to prevent such an event from happening again.
It also states that the wall would be rebuilt using stones from the existing collapsed wall.
“It has been a nightmare,” said Mr Bugge. “We’re just going to have to pay for it. We’ll have to remortgage. It’s one of those things.
“No one has been through a more stressful time than we have. But we’re going to get it done.”
However, he warned that even if plans were approved, hopefully by the end of October, work would not start straight away as someone would still need to be sourced to carry out the work and and they would still have to find the money to pay for it.
Mr Bugge also addressed previous concerns raised over access on the pavement being restricted, saying that Cormac had told him that being two metres wide the remaining space on the pavement is still wider than many other walkways in Helston.