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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