Council’s legal bid to tackle road headache

Rubble trouble: Stuart Duffield in his badly damaged Longmeanygate home, shortly after the crash occurred
Rubble trouble: Stuart Duffield in his badly damaged Longmeanygate home, shortly after the crash occurred
Have your say

South Ribble Council is seeking permission from a court to part-demolish a Leyland home which is preventing a busy road from reopening.

The Longmeanygate house was destroyed in April when a drink-driver crashed into it as homeowner Stuart Duffield and his family were sleeping.

The converted barn has since been propped up by steel bars which take up most of the road.

The council confirmed it is taking legal action to seek an order from the courts to partly demolish the building so one lane can be re-opened to traffic – with the cost falling to Mr Duffield.

But Mr Duffield, who is still waiting for insurance money to come through from the incident, has vowed to fight.

He said: “They argue the building is unsafe and that’s why it needs demolishing, but it is safe as it stands.

“We agreed for the council to do that work – to put the steel bars up – when the incident first happened, and it’s not in a state of collapse.

“If it was going to fall down, it certainly would have in this weather. Now they’re saying it’s not safe, but they’re the ones who did the initial work.

“They want to do this now so they can re-open the road, but that’s a separate matter.

“The road isn’t our responsibility, and we’ve already had the work done to the building to make it safe.

“We’ve also done everything in our power to get the insurance sorted, and that’s going to court now as well.

“The council knows that, but they’re insistent on holding us to ransom. Our first step once the insurance money comes through is to do this bit of work, the building does need part-demolishing and re-building, and we’re happy for the road to be re-opened then.”

South Ribble Council’s cabinet member for housing, Coun Cliff Hughes, said: “We have been working with the homeowners and other agencies since the incident to enable the road to be re-opened as soon as possible.

“We are taking legal action with the aim of securing an order to carry out the work. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”