Ripon homeowners fear ‘catastrophic collapse’ due to subsidence
Last updated Oct 20, 2021
Photo of Mat Pritchard at Bedern Court
Mat Pritchard points to cracks that have grown wider in a wall at Bedern Court.

A year after four Ripon homes had to be evacuated because of subsidence, the owners are continuing to press for settlement of a long-standing insurance claim.

Fears of a building collapse at the 35-year-old Bedern Court scheme on Skellgarths have increased following a new report by a monitoring engineer.

Leaseholders and owners feel they have been put in a desperate situation caused by circumstances beyond their control.

The claim is currently with global insurance company Arch, and while owners and tenants of the four affected properties hope for good news, the engineer’s report has highlighted a worsening situation exacerbated by sinkhole activity in the area.

Photo of evacuated properties at Bedern Court

Four homes at Bedern Court have remained empty after being evacuated a year ago

Mat Pritchard, chairperson of Bedern Court Ltd (BCL) – a non-profit company controlled by owners and leaseholders with houses and apartments in the 29-unit development – told the Stray Ferret:

“The report from our monitoring engineer indicates that the ground movement is still ongoing, and appears to be speeding up.

“The risk of catastrophic collapse has ratcheted upwards and we are now seriously worried that the block could be very close to some kind of tipping point.

“We greatly fear a situation where it does collapse or partially collapse, and someone gets killed or injured.”

In addition to the monitoring report, BCL commissioned a separate investigation from a geotechnical engineering practice.

This looked at the history of the site and concluded that the subsidence issues experienced there do constitute an insurable risk that should be covered by insurance.

The report was sent to Arch in June and Mr Pritchard, who owns one of the affected properties with his wife Jane, said:

“We have been in very regular contact with the insurers in an attempt to get this matter resolved as swiftly as possible, but we are still waiting.

“All authorities, including the parish, district and county councils, have been contacted by us and kept updated.

“We have taken all of the measures that we can, but feel that we are rapidly running out of time.”



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