Couple’s ‘wonky’ £725k dream home to be torn down just 5 years after being built
A couple’s “wonky” dream home worth £725,000 is to be torn down just five years after it was built.
Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, bought the five-bedroom property in 2018 – but now can’t even open the front door, the Mirror reports.
The detached house, located in the Cambridgeshire countryside, is covered in metre-long cracks as it is being ‘lifted up’ by swelling soil.
Insurers have blamed poorly constructed foundations for the problems and have ordered the property to be demolished and rebuilt, as the damage is too extensive to fix.
Madeline, a retired banker turned gardener, said: “It’s a nightmare really.
“The cracks are pretty much everywhere. None of the floors or work surfaces are level.
“Doors won’t shut – I can’t even open the front door because it’s stuck.”
“The insurance company said they can’t save it. It’s not just a building, it’s our home.”
Situated in the rural village of Wicken, near the historic cathedral city of Ely, the couple’s home counts five bedrooms and three bathrooms.
Madeline showed how cracks punctuated her and husband Alastair’s home, which has underfloor heating, a wine chiller and a wood burner.
The couple’s double garage has a two-metre-long crack inside that is around half an inch wide, while the kitchen and sitting room are also affected.
Madeline said the issue was with the house’s foundations – around 1.5 to 2-metres deep – being moved by the clay soil below, which is expanding due to ground heave.
Ground heave is associated with the swelling of clay soils that expand when wet.
The couple claim that builders should have accounted for this when building the home, which came with a 10-year guarantee under the Local Authority Building Control.
Madeline said: “The soil is bone dry with evidence that tiny tree roots are still there. It’s lifting the house up.
“They should have known what the land was like when building the house.
“We first noticed little cracks after a couple of years but we put it down to normal new house stuff.
“It started in the hallway, on the staircase and in the back bedroom.
“A structural engineer visited and said it was clay heave, which is where the soil has expanded beneath the house.”
Madeline and Alastair, who is also a retired banker, must move out of the house that they share with their golden retriever when the demolition notice is given.
They will be given compensation to rent a property for six months – but the devastated coupke say they don’t know if they’ll return their home or sell it off once it’s rebuilt because of the disruption involved.
Madeline said: “They’re going to demolish everything and do the foundations again.
“It could be at least two years out of the house.
“We wanted to live in the countryside, we thought this would be our home for a few years and then we would move onto our final home.
“We don’t know at the moment if we’ll come back. We might just put it straight on the market when it’s rebuilt”
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