Norfolk Broads sinking cottage shatters couple's retirement dreams

Sinking cottage
Image caption The cottage's gable end on the left has sunk and this has caused damage to walkways

A riverside home worth about £831,000 that a couple in their 60s bought and renovated for retirement is sinking.

Gail and Ken Pitts had great plans for Heron Lodge set beside the River Bure at Horning in The Broads in Norfolk.

Now the house must be demolished and rebuilt and an investigation is under way in to why it sank despite standing on steel pile foundations.

The building began to sink in February and insurers are holding the couple's claim during the investigation.

They have now set up home at neighbouring Heron Cottage which they also own and rent out to holidaymakers.

Image caption Damage has been caused all round the cottage
Image caption People are warned to keep away from the sinking cottage at Horning

"This cottage was booked by visitors for 37 weeks this year, but we have had to cancel and refund all their money," Mr Pitts said.

"I could not let people sit in the lounge or on the patio of this cottage and look at a building that was sinking."

Mrs Pitts said the situation was life-changing and causing them great stress, but they wanted to get on with their lives.

"We had to abandon our retirement plans. The cottage will have to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch," she said.

"People saw the cottage and put it on social media.

"We were private people but newspapers, radio and television picked up the story and we became inundated with requests for interviews."

She said they were waiting for hear from the insurers and their underwriters.

Online estate agencies have estimated the sale price of the cottage would have been about £830,000.

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