Subsidence causes evacuation of four Ripon homes
Last updated Oct 21, 2020
Mat Pritchard points to cracks in a retaining wall at the rear of 5 Bedern Court.

Extensive subsidence has caused the evacuation of four properties in a Ripon housing development.

The problem is believed to be caused by sinkholes in the area.

It was deemed so severe that owners of two of the properties in Bedern Court were advised by tenancy management company Joplings to tell tenants they had to leave for their own safety.

Mat Pritchard, whose 81-year-old father Norman was living in 5 Bedern Court, had to rapidly make arrangements for him to move out.

Tenants at the other properties, 1 and 3 Bedern Court and 17 Skellgarths, which is within the scheme, have also had to move out at very short notice.

Mr Pritchard is chairperson for Bedern Court Ltd, which is a non-profit company controlled by leaseholders and owners.

It manages the leaseholds and freeholds for the 29-unit brick-built block, which was built in 1986.

He told the Stray Ferret:

“The block has now been in effect, partially condemned for human habitation, with numbers 3 and 5 worst affected and issues also affecting the neighbouring  properties at 1 Bedern Court and 17 Skellgarths.”

Mr Pritchard said:

“Joplings told BCL that a recent geo-technical and building site investigation had returned very concerning results and they believed that flats 3 and 5 were no longer safely habitable.”

Photograph of Mat and Jane Pritchard at Bedern Court

Jane and Mat Pritchard are pictured at Bedern Court, where their flat is deemed unsafe because of major subsidence issues.

He added:

“Our priority was the safety of the tenants after large internal and external cracks opened up. Because of the visible shift of the building it was also necessary to evacuate the two adjoining properties.”

The block is within the shadow of Ripon Cathedral and alongside one of the main routes into the city centre.

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An adjacent block of flats built after the Bedern Court development was subsequently demolished and Peacock’s Passage, which runs between the two sites, has clear signs of subsidence.

BCL believe that sinkholes in the area are the likely cause of the subsidence, but claims dating back to 2009 lodged with underwriters Aviva and subsequently QBE, have been turned down by both insurers.

Mr Pritchard said:

“In the urgent situation we find ourselves, we have lodged a further claim with QBE.

“We have also contacted our MP Julian Smith and Ripon City Council seeking any help or advice they can give us and we will continue to ask for cooperation from the owners of neighbouring sites.”