A CAMPAIGNER has won a year-long battle to have repairs made to two collapsing walls – but only after one came crashing down into the street.
For more than a year, Michael Rogers had been warning Kirklees Council and Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) about the walls near his Dewsbury home.
Emails and letters went unanswered, officials denied the walls were their responsibility, and even the Local Government Ombudsman was powerless to force action.
In the end, it took the collapse of the wall in Woodville Road and the involvement of the Reporter to finally get some action.
Mr Rogers, of Leeds Road, said: “Anyone could see it was going to fall down and they didn’t do anything about it. It’s a disgrace when people’s lives could be at risk.
“They should have dealt with it before it caused a major problem. Now it’s going to cost more money.”
The 48-year-old also raised concerns about the safety of a load-bearing wall holding up the garden of a neighbouring property owned by KNH last summer.
During a site visit in April, the housing organisation accepted the wall was its responsibility and promised to make repairs.
Three months on, nothing has been done to repair cracks or stop the wall bowing out.
Mr Rogers said: “The wall is the major issue here, but I’m infuriated at the lack of professionalism of them in never replying to letters and emails. They’re a law unto themselves.”
KNH area housing manager Ray Ram apologised for an ‘oversight’ in keeping Mr Rogers informed.
He said the history of the area made it hard to establish land ownership – and responsibility for walls – but that had now been done.
“While this background work has been going on, the walls have been surveyed and found to be structurally sound so the repairs were not considered urgent,” he said.
KNH has ordered repairs to the wall next to Mr Roger’s home and will repair the Woodville Road wall on the council’s behalf.