Mystery over wobbly wall’s owners

Town councillor Jenny Hannaby and former town councillor Derek Verdin inspect the wall in Wallingford Street. Picture: OX67465 Jon Lewis

Town councillor Jenny Hannaby and former town councillor Derek Verdin inspect the wall in Wallingford Street. Picture: OX67465 Jon Lewis Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

A 100-METRE wall in Wantage which is falling into the road could take years to repair because no-one knows who owns it.

A 30m stretch of footpath by the Wallingford Street wall was closed in January after council officers clearing ivy discovered how dilapidated it was and were concerned it could topple over.

A civil engineer said the wall, which supports a bank of soil and trees, could not stay secure if rainfall made the soil heavier.

Vale of White Horse District Council is now trying to find the wobbly wall’s owners to get them to pay for the repairs.

Confusion over the ownership goes back years, according to Wantage town councillor Jenny Hannaby.

She said: “For 10 years we’ve been trying to get someone to look at this wall, but it has got worse in the past five. If they couldn’t find out who owns it in the past five years, how are they going to do it in the next five?

“The wall is already leaning out, there are bricks missing or crumbling, and behind it are trees and a bank which belong to somebody.

“This will be a major job but someone has to be responsible.”

Former town councillor Derek Verdin said he had raised the subject “many years ago”.

He said: “This wall is progressively collapsing, it’s leaning further and further out, all the lower bricks are crumbling away.

“If a bit of it started collapsing it would pull the rest of it down, we’d have 30 or 40 metres pulled down.

“It’s inconvenient and risky.”

The state of the wall only came to light after Mrs Hannaby paid for the foliage to be cleared from it.

Oxfordshire County Council has closed the footpath while Vale of White Horse District Council searches for the wall’s owners.

Mrs Hannaby added: “When I had the foliage cut off all the people of Wantage started to panic this wall was going to fall on some little kiddy.

“If it’s a health and safety risk, it should be put right at taxpayers’ expense, then seek the money from the owners, or else it could stay like that for years.”

The Vale’s civil engineer Clive Hudson found that a partial rebuild of the wall about 15 years ago was carried out deliberately leaning towards the road.

He said: “While the wall may not topple over tomorrow, its future in the medium term cannot be secured based on today’s inspection and the likelihood of further heavy rainfall.”

Vale of White Horse District declined to comment any further on the issue.

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Comments (8)

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8:11pm Thu 29 May 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

"The state of the wall only came to light after Mrs Hannaby paid for the foliage to be cleared from it."........
.......did she pay for it from her own pocket, or was it the Town Council, i.e. the tax payer
"The state of the wall only came to light after Mrs Hannaby paid for the foliage to be cleared from it."........ .......did she pay for it from her own pocket, or was it the Town Council, i.e. the tax payer Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 3

2:07am Fri 30 May 14

Neonlights says...

In the meantime who's paying for the scaffold rental?
In the meantime who's paying for the scaffold rental? Neonlights
  • Score: 6

8:34am Fri 30 May 14

brucklay227 says...

Quote “When I had the foliage cut off all the people of Wantage started to panic this wall was going to fall on some little kiddy"

KIDDY? KIDDY? Have we got a herd of goats in Wallingford now? What an awful abuse of our English language.
Quote “When I had the foliage cut off all the people of Wantage started to panic this wall was going to fall on some little kiddy" KIDDY? KIDDY? Have we got a herd of goats in Wallingford now? What an awful abuse of our English language. brucklay227
  • Score: 3

1:21pm Fri 30 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

brucklay227 wrote:
Quote “When I had the foliage cut off all the people of Wantage started to panic this wall was going to fall on some little kiddy"

KIDDY? KIDDY? Have we got a herd of goats in Wallingford now? What an awful abuse of our English language.
Could be worse.

"Wean" or "bairn" always makes me shudder.
[quote][p][bold]brucklay227[/bold] wrote: Quote “When I had the foliage cut off all the people of Wantage started to panic this wall was going to fall on some little kiddy" KIDDY? KIDDY? Have we got a herd of goats in Wallingford now? What an awful abuse of our English language.[/p][/quote]Could be worse. "Wean" or "bairn" always makes me shudder. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 1

4:56pm Fri 30 May 14

Neonlights says...

brucklay227 wrote:
Quote “When I had the foliage cut off all the people of Wantage started to panic this wall was going to fall on some little kiddy"

KIDDY? KIDDY? Have we got a herd of goats in Wallingford now? What an awful abuse of our English language.
Wallingford?

No, this is the Town of Wantage, and the road is called Wallingford Street.
[quote][p][bold]brucklay227[/bold] wrote: Quote “When I had the foliage cut off all the people of Wantage started to panic this wall was going to fall on some little kiddy" KIDDY? KIDDY? Have we got a herd of goats in Wallingford now? What an awful abuse of our English language.[/p][/quote]Wallingford? No, this is the Town of Wantage, and the road is called Wallingford Street. Neonlights
  • Score: 2

5:46pm Fri 30 May 14

oxinkytext says...

Don't understand this article. Is it not an health and safety issue to have pedestrians forced into the road because of the footpath closure?

If this has really been a problem for 10 years then surely something should have been done already? In such cases of contested ownership, the council should ensure the work is done and then bill the owner when found.

Also, if records have been found of a partial rebuild 15 years ago surely there is some indication of ownership?
Don't understand this article. Is it not an health and safety issue to have pedestrians forced into the road because of the footpath closure? If this has really been a problem for 10 years then surely something should have been done already? In such cases of contested ownership, the council should ensure the work is done and then bill the owner when found. Also, if records have been found of a partial rebuild 15 years ago surely there is some indication of ownership? oxinkytext
  • Score: 2

12:00am Sat 31 May 14

CtrlAltTab says...

oxinkytext wrote:
Don't understand this article. Is it not an health and safety issue to have pedestrians forced into the road because of the footpath closure?

If this has really been a problem for 10 years then surely something should have been done already? In such cases of contested ownership, the council should ensure the work is done and then bill the owner when found.

Also, if records have been found of a partial rebuild 15 years ago surely there is some indication of ownership?
But you are thinking sensibly, and that is one reason you could never be in local government.
[quote][p][bold]oxinkytext[/bold] wrote: Don't understand this article. Is it not an health and safety issue to have pedestrians forced into the road because of the footpath closure? If this has really been a problem for 10 years then surely something should have been done already? In such cases of contested ownership, the council should ensure the work is done and then bill the owner when found. Also, if records have been found of a partial rebuild 15 years ago surely there is some indication of ownership?[/p][/quote]But you are thinking sensibly, and that is one reason you could never be in local government. CtrlAltTab
  • Score: 2

9:23am Mon 2 Jun 14

winger whitley says...

Of course there will come a time in a year or so, when one of the dim council types realise that the cost for scaffolding needed to prop the wall up will cost more than simply repairing it. Why not just get on and fix it?
Of course there will come a time in a year or so, when one of the dim council types realise that the cost for scaffolding needed to prop the wall up will cost more than simply repairing it. Why not just get on and fix it? winger whitley
  • Score: 4

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