Drama as house collapses during work

A COUPLE had a lucky escape when half of the 200-year-old house they were converting fell down around them.Michael and Mary Scott had already transformed half of the house in Battisford, near Stowmarket, back into a cottage and were starting on the second half when it suddenly crumbled to the ground.

A COUPLE had a lucky escape when half of the 200-year-old house they were converting fell down around them.

Michael and Mary Scott had already transformed half of the house in Battisford, near Stowmarket, back into a cottage and were starting on the second half when it suddenly crumbled to the ground.

The people living opposite them, Phil and Sue Taylor, feared the couple were inside when the house, on Bowl Road, Battisford Straight, collapsed on Saturday .

Mr Taylor said: "We were in here getting on with our work and I walked towards our front door, which has a window by it. I noticed that above the doorway a large piece of cob, which is the clay and straw that the building is made of instead of bricks, was falling.


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"I shouted to my wife 'Sue a piece of cob has come down' but before I finished the sentence the front wall started to crumble and the whole lot came down. The roof fell down to the ground and flipped over.

"We did not actually know how many people were there at the time. As soon as I saw it come down there was a milli-second of shock and then I ran over there with Sue.

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"We found Mary standing at the front in total shock, and I said: 'Where's Michael?' She said: 'He's in the house'.

"Then I started to go round the side of the house; my impression was I've got to get in there and see where he is.

"Fortunately for me he appeared covered in dust. He was a bit shaken. There were not any more people in at the time.

"They were extremely lucky as their little grandchildren, who live next door, are often there looking at the work. They were there half an hour before. They would have been squashed flat by that."

Mr Taylor said the couple had been working for months on converting the house into its original state as two separate cottages. A tenant was expected to come to live in the finished part soon and the couple had already put in brand new windows in the second cottage.

Now the rubble from the walls and the roof are lying next to the intact completed cottage, with a "danger keep out" sign at the front.

Peter Burrows, building control manager with Mid Suffolk District Council, was alerted to the problem on Saturday and helped secure the site with fencing.

He said the council would be helping Mr Scott in deciding what to do and the insurance company.

He added: "It looked like an earthquake had hit it.

"I am 48 years old and I have been doing this since I was 24. I have not seen anything like it before. I have seen cars go into buildings and walls slipped into trenches but nothing like this."

Mr and Mrs Scott were unavailable for comment last night.

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