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Help - builder smashed my 81 yr old Mums listed garden wall down wwyd? Please help

(7 Posts)
stickybun Wed 09-Jul-08 22:58:18

My 81 year old partially sighted Mum recently got back from a short holiday to find the wall at the bottom of her garden had seemingly been smashed down by a builder developing land and a pub on the other side of it. A couple of her neighbours are slightly affected but she has a whole (listed!) wall smashed into her garden accompanied by a big willow tree (other sides) which has been uprooted and is collapsed on top of her cherry tree amidst rubble. The wall is her responsibility but builder seems to have demolished it. No contact by builder or agent. Her neighbour (who is in his 40s) has managed to get hold of a couple of phone numbers (builders mobile only!). What should she do? I think I may have (finally)persuaded her to let me handle things for her - initially think she was reluctant as not wanting me to steam in all stroppy. Her local CAB has been utterly crap (i.e. didn't offer to help with phoning or first steps letter - I am hoping to do this now). I am also hoping to get her local Councillor onside and if it were down to me would think local press (or threat of it) could be useful. She 'doesn't want to draw attention to herself' in case it attracts wronguns. I am trying not to be the bossy old moo I can be as recently did Enduring Power of Attourney thing and don't want to make her feel like she doesn't run her own life. We love each other but have very different outlooks and she seems to have an immense capacity for rubbing people up the wrong way (no - I don't mean me!). She does have insurance but doesn't have a lot of cash- please can any of you clever people help sort this???

ninedragons Thu 10-Jul-08 03:03:22

Contact English Heritage or whoever listed it and ask them what to do. Make sure the bricks or stones aren't removed in the meantime (even if that means moving them to a safe place). The builder should have insurance and will almost certainly have to restore the wall to its original condition.

Take lots of photos (both of the demolished wall and of the new development, especially any signs or banners giving the name of the company) and start going through your old photos now to see if you have any of the wall as it stood originally. Document everything. Write to the company that owns the site that is being redeveloped to tell them about the problem - cc English Heritage.

Speak to the other affected neighbours - if it does come to lawyers you can all club together for one.

Explain to your mum that she can't just do nothing - knocking down a listed piece of built heritage is a serious offence involving fairly hefty fines.

What a cowboy.

ninedragons Thu 10-Jul-08 03:04:47

Forgot to say, keep her flight itinerary and copies of tickets, hotel reservations etc so if necessary she can prove she wasn't at home when the damage occurred.

UnderRated Thu 10-Jul-08 03:37:43

Also, you could contact the police, if only to file a report and make sure it is all documented.

But definitely English Heritage. They need to be notified so that if someone notices the wall in future your mum doesn't get the blame (and fine). English Heritage can (and do) take legal action. I think your mum will have an obligation to inform them and she needs to cover her own back.

Keep records of everything - phone calls, tickets, photos etc

I would avoid the press unless nothing else works.

Othersideofthechannel Thu 10-Jul-08 07:09:53

The builders insurance should pay. Depending on the type of cover she has, your mother's insurance may be able to handle the claim for you. I would give them a call and ask if their is anything in her policy which covers this eventuality.

ChippyMinton Thu 10-Jul-08 07:20:33

Call her local council today and speak to the Conservation Officer. They are responsible fro listed structures and will be able to come out and visit the site immediately. English Heritage may get involved but they are more remote. You need the local officer on your side, because it is an offence to damage a listed structure. The builder must've known it was listed so don't let him get away with it. The council will almost certainly want the bricks reclaimed and the wall rebuilt as it was, which will be expensive.

stickybun Thu 10-Jul-08 09:29:12

Thankyou so much you lovely people will get cracking - wasn't sure about the lsited thing. Really appreciate your help smile

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