Cracked house: Neighbours demand action of crumbling home

Neighbours, left to right, Debra and David Jameson, Ged Taylor, Paul and Theresa Dewhurst, outside the neighbouring house that has had scaffolding erected for five years.

Neighbours, left to right, Debra and David Jameson, Ged Taylor, Paul and Theresa Dewhurst, outside the neighbouring house that has had scaffolding erected for five years.

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It’s been five years and waiting for neighbours left fed up with the state of a crumbling home.

The front of the house in The Westlands, Sunderland, was surrounded with scaffolding after a heavy snowfall in December 2010 sparked concerns that the roof would collapse.

Neighbours, left to right, Debra and David Jameson, Ged Taylor, Paul and Theresa Dewhurst, outside the neighbouring house that has had scaffolding erected for five years, with coun Rebecca Atkinson.

Neighbours, left to right, Debra and David Jameson, Ged Taylor, Paul and Theresa Dewhurst, outside the neighbouring house that has had scaffolding erected for five years, with coun Rebecca Atkinson.

Chester Road, one of the busiest roads in and out of the city, had to be closed off to traffic, and people living in nearby homes had to be evacuated while the damage was assessed by engineers.

A crack was caused in the upstairs bay window as it buckled under the weight of the snowfall.

Now, the neighbours have called for action after repair work is yet to be done, with court action failing to push the landlord of the house into completing the repairs.

The Echo understands improvements were started, but were not finished, leaving the unsightly hoardings in place, and efforts were made to contact the landlord, without reply.

Chester Road is a gateway into our city centre, people drive along there all day every day.

Ged Taylor

Teacher Debra Jameson, 48, who lives with husband David and children Beth, 20, and Matthew, 15, is among those left angry by the situation.

“We’ve been complaining and want this to be sorted,” she said.

“It’s not something anyone wants to live next door to.

“As far as we’re concerned, what’s been done is not sufficient and it’s been left to look like that all this time on one of the main roads.

“We want it sorted.”

Ged Taylor, 58, works as a builder and lives with his wife Debbie, 46, and children Jake, 23, Charlie, 20, and Orla, 10.

He said: “Chester Road is a gateway into our city centre, people drive along there all day every day.

“It’s not really giving a good impression to anybody.

“Year after year has gone by, and the council has done as much as it can legally.”

Also among the neighbours who have been left furious are retired teachers Teresa Dewhurst, 60, and husband Paul, 62, and their daughter Clare, 24, a sales manager.

Teresa said: “I think we’ve got to the stage now where we just pretend it’s not there.

“It is quiet next door because there doesn’t seem to have been anyone living there for a long time.

“It litters the street and it doesn’t seem what happened at court has had much effect.

“It looks so bad and it’s looked like that for such a long time.

“If the landlord doesn’t want to do it, why doesn’t he sell it, because at least somebody else can do something with it.”

The residents say they are assured Sunderland City Council has taken as much action as it can.

Councillor Mel Speding, the council’s cabinet secretary, said: “The city council is aware of issues at this property and served an improvement notice on the owner in October 2014.

“A prosecution for failing to comply with the notice was brought to Sunderland Magistrates’ Court in July 2015.

“The owner was fined £400 by magistrates and ordered to pay costs of £443.

“Some works have been undertaken at the property and the council is continuing to monitor their progress.”

Councillor Rebecca Atkinson, Labour member for Barnes, has been speaking to the residents about the issue.

She said: “I have had regular contact with residents about this ongoing problem and I too am very concerned by the issue.

“As can be seen the council has taken legal action, it is monitoring the situation, and on behalf of residents I have been speaking with and am in regular contact with council officers.

“I agree entirely with residents and neighbours, it’s been going on for too long now and matters must be resolved.”