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Herefordshire Council starts legal action to resolve slope failure issue

Herefordshire Council has said that it is seeking an order from local magistrates to require a local householder to remove a private wall following an ongoing slope stability issue in Symonds Yat.

Problems with the wall were first noticed in January and the C1257 route has been closed since June following safety concerns regarding the poor condition of the wall and the road itself.

The council is appealing for a section 77 notice under the Building Act 1984, to require the owner of the property, next to the C1257 road, to remove a wall erected without consent.

The council estimates that there are 42 homes and business affected by the road closure, including 12 holiday let properties, with vehicles and pedestrians currently having to use a small lane, Ferrie Lane, for any access.

The council, in partnership with its highway contract Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP), has been working to identify a solution with the owner of the wall, experts and local residents, as well as working with utility companies to ensure safe supplies can continue to be delivered to properties. Emergency services have also been made aware of access routes and restrictions.

Council documents state that a progressive slope failure is the cause of the damage to the wall and the cracks within the carriageway. A report commissioned by the council from WSP recommended closure of the route but also warned of the alternative route also posed risks.

In a letter to residents that has been seen by GE, BBLP said that it had looked at the potential to install passing bays to allow improved access via Ferrie Lane but that it would “entail cutting into the toe of a slope that is currently experiencing geotechnical instability and would potentially be a medium to high risk undertaking”. The letter also confirmed that Lidar surveys had been undertaken to understand the nature of the slope failure in more detail.

Herefordshire Council cabinet member for transport and regulatory services Barry Durkin said: “We are working with local residents and businesses to move this issue forward but have reached the point where enforcement action is necessary and proportionate. We consider the wall to be in a dangerous condition and it needs to be made safe before we can proceed to fix the road.




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