Wiltshire

Council tenant 'can see daylight through cracks in house'

Cracks in wall Image copyright Becki Boase
Image caption David Boase said the cracks at his end-terrace home had become "much worse"

A council tenant who says he can see daylight through the cracks in his house has branded the local authority's response as "unbelievable".

David Boase said his home was "neither safe nor secure" due to "inch-wide" cracks inside and outside the property.

He said the situation at the end-terrace in Swindon had got "much worse" and he feared for his family's safety.

Swindon Borough Council said "minor cracking" had been reported a year ago and the family was not at risk of harm.

Mr Boase said he had repeatedly reported new cracks at the property, where he has lived with his wife Becki and their three young children for six years.

Image copyright Becki Boase
Image caption Becki and David Boase said cracks began appearing in the walls last year

He said he first reported the problem more than a year ago and was told the subsidence was not too serious and would be monitored. Since then, he said he made further reports which had been "ignored".

"Last week a crack appeared across our kitchen wall. Within three days we watched it stretch up and reach the ceiling. It's still developing," he said.

A council spokesman said an initial survey last year "identified very minor cracking and monitoring arrangements were put in place". He said the family contacted the council again "a few weeks ago" and since then a structural engineer had carried out a survey.

"The cause of the structural cracking appears to be due to clay sub-soil and large mature trees but we have assured our tenants they are not at risk of any harm."

He said cosmetic repairs would be carried out next week and "structural and remedial repairs" will be completed "as quickly as possible".

Image copyright Becki Boase
Image caption The damage to the walls first appeared last year

Mr Boase said this response from the council was "unbelievable" and the authority had "made no efforts" to monitor the house in the past 12 months.

"Last year's inspection revealed inch wide cracks at the back and front of our home, cracks in every room, windows that wouldn't close... and a front door that was unlockable. There was nothing minor about it."

He added he had been told the house would require underpinning and most of the back wall rebuilding.

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