Fact or opinion

Carol's story - wall dispute

Carol talks about her dispute with her local council over who owns the wall outside her home that needs repairing.

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Gloria Hunniford: Carol has lived here since 1996 and separating the houses from the road is a 40 ft wall erected almost 90 years ago.

Carol: We’re unable to get a straight answer of who actually owns the wall which is in such bad repair now that it’s a danger.

Gloria Hunniford: Carol and her neighbours think that the local council owns the land, but the council thinks otherwise. And of course why that matters, is because whoever it’s decided does own the land will have to foot the bill for the repairs.

Carol: At the public council meeting that I attended, it was discussed on how much the actual cost for repair and maintenance would come to. The figure they come up with was £700,000. I couldn’t imagine how any of us would ever be able to raise that sort of money.

Gloria Hunniford: The council’s current stance seems at odds with what they told Carol not long after she moved in, when she queried where her boundaries were.

Carol: I wrote to them in 1997 and they wrote back to me and said that my boundaries were marked in red, which clearly shows up until the wall on my front garden. I do not own the path, the wall, the fence or the steps – and neither do any of the other residents.

Gloria Hunniford: Carol has been poring through the local historical archive to try and establish once and for all who has responsibility for the land. And she’s found some documents which she thinks proves her case, starting with this one from July 1922.

Carol: Mr Steadman gave 1,666 square yards of land for the road widening, provided the council compensated him with a payment of £200 for loss of fruit trees. This proves, how can the residents own this, when the council paid for this land? We just want an end to this, we want somebody to prove who owns the wall, who is responsible for the wall, that’s all we’re asking for.

Quick tips for tutors

A short video about Carol's ongoing dispute with her local council over who owns the wall outside her property that is desperate need of repair. Carol consults documents in her local history archive to try and establish whose land the wall actually sits on.

May be used in class to stimulate discussion around the featured story. Alternatively could be used to introduce the following topics:

  • Fact or opinion
  • Reading and understanding