Court threat after rectory wall collapse

The owner of a historic rectory in Norfolk has threatened to take a council to court after months of flooding problems led to the destruction of a centuries-old flint wall.

The owner of a historic rectory in Norfolk has threatened to take a council to court after months of flooding problems led to the destruction of a centuries-old flint wall.

Peter Ford, who lives at an 18th-century vicarage at Shropham, said he was left frustrated after Norfolk County Council failed to act upon the repeated flooding of the road outside his home.

The 35-year-old is now set to launch legal action against the local authority after it declined to take responsibility for the collapse of a 40ft length of his listed flint wall, which will cost £35,000 to replace.

The father-of-three claims that the county council could have prevented the expensive bill if it had acted on reports of severe flooding on Watton Road, in Shropham, at the beginning of the year.


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County council officials say the blame rests with a local developer, who they say blocked up a drainage ditch during the construction of new homes in the village.

But Mr Ford said he would be taking county court action against the council's highways department, which he blames for causing the partial collapse of his listed boundary wall six weeks ago.

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Mr Ford, who has lived at Shropham House for the last four years, said he was “confused” as to why the county council had paid the £5,800 costs of dismantling the collapsed part of the flint wall, but denied liability when it came to replacing it.

“Every time it rains for more than 15 minutes, there is severe flooding that flows over the pavement and covers one side of the road. I am disappointed because if prompt action had been taken, this situation could have been avoided.

“We are concerned about the safety on that road and even when this is sorted, nothing can change the fact that this 250-year-old wall has been destroyed by council bods sitting on their hands and doing nothing about it since January,” he said.

Steven Reilly, media officer for the county council, said the authority “sympathised” with Mr Ford over the deterioration of his wall, but the council was not to blame.

“Norfolk County Council feel that fault lies with the developer, Goymour Homes - due to them blocking the drainage ditch, that water is meant to run off to, while developing a site nearby. We have had discussions with the company to this regard.

“We certainly feel that any compensation would have to be sought from them,” he said.

No one was available for comment from Goymour Homes last night.

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