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Rubble trouble nearing end
AN EIGHT-month dispute about repairing a 200-year-old wall that collapsed in Eynsham is finally nearing an end.
The wall in Conduit Lane, collapsed at the end of January after weeks of rain.
But repeated attempts by locals to find out who owns it – and is responsible for repairs – have led nowhere.
Now, after the Oxford Mail intervened, a developer has pledged to put it back up.
Parents have complained that the wall – which is on a lane only used by pedestrians – is a hazard to local children in its current state.
Eynsham parish councillor Peter Emery, who lives in Acre End Close, 25 yards from the wall, said it collapsed at about 4am on January 26.
He added: If it had fallen at school time it doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened as the lane is used frequently by children from Bartholomew School.”
The saga has dragged on so long because no one has so far been able to establish who is responsible for the wall and its maintenance.
Mr Emery said: “After the initial collapse, Oxfordshire County Council put up safety barriers. But then on May 3 there was a further collapse. Oxfordshire County Council then passed the matter to West Oxfordshire District Council. On May 31 workers from West Oxfordshire District Council arrived at the site and put safety barriers up before reinstating the county council barriers.
“I have been in almost constant communication with representatives of both the county and district councils, but despite this, the responsibility for repair has still not been established.
“The high probability, in my view, is that the developers, Linden Homes, are the owners of this wall.”
Parish council chairman Gordon Beach accused both councils of procrastination and trying to make the issue “somebody else’s problem”.
County council spokesman Marcus Mabberley said: “The wall is not the responsibility of the county council.
“We did however fence the wall off and removed fallen debris as the collapsed material was obstructing a county council-maintained public right of way.
“We attempted to contact the owners of the wall without success.
“The matter is now in the hands of the building control team at West Oxfordshire District Council.”
Carys Davies, from the district council, said: “Our responsibility relates to ensuring the wall is made safe.”
A spokesman for Linden Homes Chiltern said it was getting someone to repair the wall as a safety measure as a “responsible developer”.
He added: “We are also working to ascertain who owns the wall so it is clear in the future who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the structure, to save any future confusion.”
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