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Landowner has to clear up rubble after wall fell on cars

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: October 20, 2012

Stoke-sub-Hamdon resident Ken Ashford, 87, hopes his insurance company will help him deal with his garden wall which collapsed on two parked cars last week

Stoke-sub-Hamdon resident Ken Ashford, 87, hopes his insurance company will help him deal with his garden wall which collapsed on two parked cars last week

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A street in a village near Yeovil remains closed a week after a 12ft wall collapsed and crushed two parked cars.

There was some confusion over who was to clear the rubble which collapsed on to Bonnie’s Lane, Stoke-sub-Hamdon, after Somerset County Council told the Western Gazette last week it would be removed by its contractors.

However, Ken Ashford, 87, of High Street, who owns the wall, claimed he was then told it was his responsibility.

A spokeswoman for the county council apologised this week for any confusion caused by last week’s comment but said that responsibility to repair it lay with the land owner.

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She added: “We have been in contact with the owners who have already started removing the rubble and guarding the site.

“As the highway authority, we have a duty to react to events such as the collapse of the private wall in Bonnie’s Lane. Protecting the public is a priority and we took measures to sign and guard the collapse.”

Mr Ashford was dealt a double blow when it looked like his insurance company Legal and General were not going to compensate him for the damage.

Son Nick Ashford, 50, of Yeovil, said the company told him on Tuesday morning the family would have to prove an inch of rain fell within one hour before the claim would be approved.

He said: “My dad’s nearly 90, he has lived in Somerset all his life and has always been one to pay his bills. I’m trying to stay calm because I want the problem sorted but at the moment I wonder what we pay our insurance for.

“Mum and dad are that worried they have paid to put a fence around it because they are scared stiff someone is going to get hurt by rubble.”

Following inquiries to Legal and General from the Western Gazette, Mr Ashford said he received a second phone call from the insurance company on Tuesday evening to say they were going to reassess the claim. He later added: “Fingers crossed it will sort itself out. They said they will assess the claim under flood damage, rather than storm damage.”

A spokeswoman for the company confirmed Mr Ashford is a customer of theirs. However, no one was available for comment as the Western Gazette went to print.

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