Sinking houses may have to be bulldozed

EXPERTS say they could have to demolish a residential close in a Suffolk town after homes began sinking into mud.

Will Clarke

EXPERTS say they could have to demolish a residential close in a Suffolk town after homes began sinking into mud.

Residents of Petch Close, Bury St Edmunds, had been told their homes could be saved with a massive engineering programme to shore them up but now it is feared the whole Havebury Housing Partnership site will have to be bulldozed and the site rebuilt.

A subsidence problem with the homes was identified last April and Havebury decided it did not want to keep patching them up as they slumped into soft muddy ground underneath a number of the 20 houses and flats.

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Residents have now told Havebury bosses they want new homes and the total redevelopment is now being looked at together with the under-pining option and a partial rebuild scheme.

Oonah Lacey, head of new business with Havebury, said: “Havebury wants to find a permanent solution which will make Petch Close a lovely place to live for our residents. We are keeping residents fully informed and will be consulting with them again before deciding whether to pursue the option to redevelop the site.

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“I don't know if it will take longer if we decide to rebuild. Redevelopment might be a more permanent solution and we might be able to fit more homes on the site but whatever we do it has got to be viable.”

Georgina Manning, 44, who has lived at Petch Close for two years, said she had been worrying about her future.

“It is a lovely quiet place to live,” she said. “Immediately after I heard I might have to move I was really worried about it. But after the support (from Havebury) I have had the worry has eased. Now I just think if it has got to be done then it has got to be done.”

Jeff Hayford, who is co-ordinating the relocation programme, said: “What we are offering residents is a package to meet their needs and at the end I hope they will think that it went well.

“The package will include removals and we will be arranging visits to discuss individual needs, wishes and requirements. There is nothing we won't consider in terms of reasonable cost.”

St Edmundsbury Borough Council will bear some of the cost of the repair as the authority owned the homes before they were passed to Havebury.

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