Ystalyfera landslide resident fined for returning home

Richard Morrison
Image caption,
Richard Morrison has fought the order to leave his home

A man has been fined after refusing to stay away from his home that was damaged by a landslide.

Richard Morrison was among residents who were told to leave a terraced row in Ystalyfera in 2017 after mounds of earth fell down the hillside.

Neath Port Talbot council issued an order to leave and said staying in the area posed an "immediate risk to life".

Morrison was fined £100 by Swansea magistrates for breaching the emergency prohibition order.

Image caption,
The first landslip in December 2012

Thousands of tonnes of rock, soil and trees first slipped down the hillside behind the houses on Cyfyng Road in 2012, before further landslides caused some gardens to drop away.

Morrison admitted continuing to carry out structural work on his property without the council's permission.

Prosecutor Ian Ibrahim said residents of the other 10 terraced homes issued with the prohibition order had now left but Morrison had been spotted by council workers at his property on two separate occasions last summer. 

Media caption,
Drone footage shows the landslip which has affected homes in Ystalyfera

Morrison said he believed the council had wanted him to carry out work to help secure the property against further landslips.

He said: "The house is in exactly the same structural place as it always has been for 150 years.

"That's why we didn't think we'd have to ask for permission."

Structural engineer Hasan Hasan said the authority had spent around £1.3m in attempts to re-stabilise the area.

He said landslips had caused a drop of about a metre and a half to Morrison's patio, which was previously level with the rest of the garden.

Image caption,
Mr Morrison's garden was destroyed by the slide

Mr Morrison previously told BBC Wales he has spent about £20,000 fighting the authority's demands for him to stay away from the house.

He was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £100 fine and victim surcharge of £20.

Image caption,
The row of houses stand on a hillside in the Swansea Valley