Plea to PM in row over Ilfracombe sea wall repairs

09:47 05 June 2014

Parade Terrace residents are desperately worried about what might happen if the wall behind their homes is not repaired urgently. Pictured are Phil and Heather Estall, Gill and Deva Situnyake, Ellie Greenwood and Navida Hunter.

Parade Terrace residents are desperately worried about what might happen if the wall behind their homes is not repaired urgently. Pictured are Phil and Heather Estall, Gill and Deva Situnyake, Ellie Greenwood and Navida Hunter.

Archant

Residents told they must pay for repairs to the badly damaged wall at Parade Terrace on Capstone after authorities refuse to take responsibility.

The missing seawall at Parade Terrace.The missing seawall at Parade Terrace.

DESPERATE Ilfracombe residents have appealed to David Cameron after the sea wall behind their homes was destroyed and they were told they would have to repair it themselves.

A huge wave smashed a gaping hole in the wall at the back of Parade Terrace on Capstone walk during the winter storms on February 2 but now a row has broken out over who should fix it.

The Environment Agency, Devon County Council and North Devon Council all claim the wall is not their responsibility, but the owners of the eight flats affected say it is far beyond their means to deal with the damage.

The damage caused by the storms to the wall behind Parade Terrace at Capstone in Ilfracombe.The damage caused by the storms to the wall behind Parade Terrace at Capstone in Ilfracombe.

Plea to PM

They have written to the Prime Minister calling on him to help resolve the problem – and before the next round of winter storms adds to the damage.

Geoff King who owns one of the properties has written to Mr Cameron and enclosed copies of 1992 property deeds he says suggest the former National Rivers Authority was responsible for maintaining the wall – something its successor the Environment Agency denies.

In his letter he says ‘We are hardworking people who were planning on retiring this year to Ilfracombe, but we have had to delay this until repairs can be made. You have previously said that people affected by the floods would qualify for Government assistance but this appears not to be the case.

‘Our local MP Nick Harvey has been very active on our behalf and expressed his personal view that private citizens should not be responsible for the local sea defences’.

Mr King told the North Devon Gazette they feared the damage could spread further if nothing is resolved before the next storms: “The sea wall was there before the properties were built so how can they assume we are responsible? The insurance company tell us it is not our wall to insure.

“This better be sorted by the time the storms come around otherwise there won’t be one flat inundated, it will be dozens.”

Heather and Phil Estall, who also own one of the flats, said the wall was built before the properties, which went up in 1898.

“That was built in 1841 by public subscription long before any parish councils and a public footpath ran along there in those days,” said Heather.

“Nobody will admit to owning it or do anything about it.”

A costly repair

Deva and Gill Situnyake also own one of the flats: “It’s urgent because we have the summer but once the weather gets bad and the storms come in this initial damage will get far worse,” said Deva.

“It needs an overarching body to take some sort of responsibility for immediate repair and ongoing maintenance. I have looked into the cost of repair and it’s something like £30,000 per square metre for sea defences – who is going to fund that?

“If the wall does go all the properties will be at risk.”

‘Not ours...’

North Devon Council Head of Property and Technical Services, Diana Hill said: “As householders have already been advised, the wall is not the responsibility of North Devon Council, but is instead believed to belong to the householders, with the structure likely to have been built to protect their properties.”

Devon County Council said the wall was not its responsibility.

Inspection

Paul Gainey from the Environment Agency told the Gazette the EA did not own or have any responsibility to repair or maintain the sea wall at Parade Terrace, which was not part of the sea defence scheme built by the South West Water Authority and the National Rivers Authority between 1978 and 1990.

“The wall provides erosion protection, but does not reduce the risk of flooding from the sea. We do not retain the powers or attract funding to repair or maintain assets that provide erosion protection - this generally resides with the local authority or landowner,” he said.

“We intend to undertake a visual inspection of the wall in order to provide technical advice to the local residents and owners.”

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 23:16
The scene on the A39 tonight after two cars collided and caught fire. Picture: Kathryn-Racheal Ring

Road closed and reports of one man dragged from a blazing car as emergency services rush to the scene

Read more
Yesterday, 14:08
Green Lanes in Barnstaple.

Green Lanes Shopping Centre, Tuesday, August 4

Read more
Yesterday, 13:11
Phil Rayment photographed the Velella Velella on Westward Ho! beach.

Creature found on Westward Ho! beach is identified as a ‘by the wind sailor’.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:44

Police appeal for information after three birds found dead following ‘rare’ poison attack

Read more
Yesterday, 09:41
Do you recognise any of these items recovered by Barnstaple police?

Police have released a series of images of silver items believed to have been stolen in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe, Bideford and South Molton.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:10
The scene of the fire in Torrington.

A woman was taken to hospital after five fire crews battled to fight blaze at Torrington terraced home.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:20
Fiona Leighton-Fowler with Jessie Head, Marie Curie fundraiser for Devon. Picture: Sarah Howells

Braunton woman is raising money for Maria Curie by completing 50 challenges ahead of her 50th birthday.

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
Sunshine at the North Devon Show.

The North Devon Show returns on Wednesday, August 5, with a jam-packed list of events. Find out 10 of the best things to look forward to here...

Read more
Yesterday, 08:00
ndg Orchard Vale Exmoor Youth Challenge Team with money raised.

Pupils raise £475.50 for Children’s Hospice South West with charity trek.

Read more
Thu, 14:41

Young people sprayed from passing car with ‘aggravating’ mysterious liquid

Read more

Local Weather

Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition today E-edition


North Devon's trusted business finder