A family impacted by a devastating mudslide fear their home is now ‘worthless’ – and say they’ve lost garden space and rear access due to safety works.
Natalie and Jon Palmer said they were angry to now be paying for “someone else’s negligence”.
They spoke out after a recent summary report into the incident – which they are trying to access in full – said “no development should have been permitted on the site” until the quarry had first been secured.
Stabilisation works to install a mesh on the cliff-face and widen a “buffer-zone” at the rear of properties has meant signing over the land to the council, something the Palmers are also cautious about as this will remove the rear access they have to a shared car park.
As a temporary measure, a metal fence has been in the middle of their garden for 10 months.
This has prevented the family, who have lived in Bank End Close for four years, from accessing their outdoor play equipment.
Natalie, a 33-year-old midday supervisor, said: “We’re angry that all these works being done now were not put in place before the homes were built and that’s the council’s responsibility.
“It’s been worrying to live here during the lockdown too because it has rained quite badly at times as well.
“We were planning to sell this year but that can’t be done now. This was a project for us to do up and sell so we only planned on living here with our kids while they were young.
“We’ve lost thousands on the house through someone else’s negligence and it’s now worthless.”
The Palmers initially had to live with their three children – Harley, Summer and Ryan – in a hotel for the next two weeks after the mudslide left their property unsafe.
Jon, a 42-year-old engineer, added: “We’re one of the main houses affected by the works, they want to take a lot of our garden space so we’d lose access to the shared car park from it.
“We’re also losing land with the buffer zone at the end of our garden too.
“We were told that the incident was ‘completely unforeseen’ by the council, but when you look at the reports from 2013, you can see a hazard has been marked right where the cliff-face came down.”
Natalie and Jon have also questioned why Mansfield District Council does not want residents to see a full version of the report that has been independently compiled on the authority’s behalf.
These calls have been met by Mansfield’s Conservative MP, Ben Bradley, who said: “I think we all know in hindsight that the site clearly wasn’t made fully safe for housing, that much is obvious.
“I’d like for residents whose homes have been affected to have access to the full report and details to help them understand why this was allowed to happen, but at the minute it seems they are being denied that access.”
Plans to protect the affected homes will see the council put a ‘gabion basket’ wall, made up of stacked metal cages filled with rocks, concrete, or sand. The works are estimated at around £3.5 million.
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Mike Robinson, strategic director at Mansfield District Council, said: “The council has issued a summary of recommendations made by an independent legal adviser. Due to legal privilege the full report cannot be issued into the public domain at present.
“We accept that there have been delays in the past due to issues regarding land ownership, this is regrettable however, and, since the November landslip, we have worked hard to ensure that the project has progressed even through our Covid-19 response and recovery.
“Mansfield District Council has put in place temporary measures to mitigate against the risk of further landslips.
“For most residents this work will take place in the existing buffer zone, for a small number of homeowners, and discussions are taking place regarding the transfer of land.
“The safety of residents in Stone Bank and Bank End close is our primary concern and we need the support of all our residents to ensure that this vital work can take place.”