Residents face £20k costs to repair wall

Resident 97 years old Mrs Harmer with the dangerous wall in Harebell Close Langney. April 17th 2013 E16141P
Resident 97 years old Mrs Harmer with the dangerous wall in Harebell Close Langney. April 17th 2013 E16141P

An elderly resident fears her savings will be wiped out if she has to fork out thousands of pounds to repair a wall which runs alongside her home.

Ellen Harmer said she and three other residents living in Harebell Close had been told they were liable for the cost of around £20,000 to fix the retaining wall. The 97-year-old said the letter was sent to her and her neighbours by Eastbourne Homes Ltd after a surveyor noticed that the wall was leaning in.

She said, “I can’t afford it. I only get my pension and an Attendance Allowance. I don’t have a lot of savings.”

The four were given the opportunity to object to paying the costs and a meeting was held about the issue. After learning of their plight Councillor Alan Shuttleworth and Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd have been involved in the matter. Cllr Shuttleworth said there ere subsidence problems in nearby Willingdon Drove, adding, “I’m questioning who’s responsible. I don’t believe it falls on those leaseholders. In the case of Mrs Harmer she is 97-years-old and at her time of life in my view it’s inappropriate for her to be getting in effect a claim for a heavy bill.”

A spokesperson for Eastbourne Homes Ltd said, “We have consulted with the leaseholders and, following their feedback, we are reassessing the extent of the required repairs. This involves redesigning the scheme to omit rebuilding attached brick stores which have also suffered some movement. The cost to the leaseholders is, therefore, likely to be lower. We will be re-consulting with the leaseholders on this basis.”

An East Sussex County Council spokesperson added, “We sympathise with the plight of the residents but this is not our responsibility.”