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Swansea Valley homeowners' fury over £5k payout over landslip claim

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 28, 2013

By Rachel Moses-Lloyd

  • Panteg resident Kain Scott was told to leave his home after the landslide

  • Neath MP Peter Hain

Comments (16)

HOMEOWNERS in a land-slipped Swansea Valley street have been left furious, after it was revealed they could be paid just under £5,000 if their houses have to be bought by the local authority.

Thirteen homes in Panteg, Ystalyfera, were evacuated on December 22, after tonnes of mud and debris slid down the rock surface, blocking the road.

But just over a month after the incident, people living in the street were told during a meeting of the community council's residents' association that if a compulsory purchase order of their homes had to be made by Neath Port Talbot Council, the "statutory amount" payable would be £4,600.

The news came on Thursday evening, just hours ahead of a visit by Neath MP Peter Hain on Friday.

Marie Scott and husband Kain Scott have been left reeling on hearing the news — especially as their property was valued at £150,000 only last year.

"We've got a load of land and everything out the back of our property," said Mrs Scott.

"We've got a mortgage. There are some people on the street who own their properties outright though.

"If they think we're going to accept that, well I'm not going anywhere."

Mrs Scott said she was again beginning to worry, with the forecast showing more wet weather for the region.

She said: "It really does worry me, to be honest.

"On Saturday night I was worrying, with the thunder and the rain coming down, because I can remember the rain on the night it happened.

"We haven't got any streetlights at the moment, so it's pitch black out there.

"It's a case of keeping the TV down low, and trying to keep our ears open for any cracking or other noise."

Work is due to start at the site this week to clear the road to the properties.

Ward councillor Alun Llewelyn was unable to comment on any monetary issues, but said progress was being made and a survey was being carried out by specialist engineers Jacobs.

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16 comments

  • Philosoraptor  |  March 06 2013, 12:14PM

    No Jiffy, they are not in the same position as those whose homes are on a cliff. The council have said it would be a compulsory purchase and for that, they get full value and more if the value now lower than what their mortgage is.

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  • Marie42  |  January 29 2013, 12:54PM

    When was the last time you visited?? Have you seen the bungalows recently? They didnt sell because the Company building them fell through, now another firm has purchased them and they are all finished with fences and tarmaced drives as from Monday! Dont see why someone would carry on with all this work if they werent sellable! Owens Lane and Clees Lane are NOT directly affected by this landslide, they have no mess and can still get in and out of their properties. This landslip has happened due to no maintenance on the pipe and no regular surveys on the mountains movement, and as if that wasnt enough, did you know about the Mining activity that has been forwarded for the said mountain? Which hasnt been turned down yet! I guess WE were foolish not to see that coming as well!

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  • Jiffy  |  January 29 2013, 12:10PM

    The last landslip filled houses with mud opposite Pantteg school and others in at the bottom of Graig-y-Merched. I have been in several of the houses that are currently affected. Along with properties in Owens Lane and Clees Lane - most of which have been demolished. Why? Because the owners didn't see any point in spending money on them. Several houses in that area were sold for cash to speculators, as the owners wanted to get away ASAP. Before you ask, I also know the mountain like the back of my hand. Many years ago the residents of that area used to spend a weekend, once a year clearing the streams up on the mountain. They knew it was necessary to keep the water flowing. When that stopped, the problems started. Have you ever wondered why the new bungalows in Church Road never sold ?

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  • Marie42  |  January 29 2013, 11:40AM

    Buying our house in a 'landslip area' (which happened at Godre'r Graig and not Pantteg back in 1960) was deemed safe for us to purchase because we werent directly affected, and all surveys and searches were carried out and satisfied to receive our mortgage! I wonder if you know anything about the history of this area or have actually been here! Did you know that this landslip has happened because the Council didnt maintain THEIR water pipe leading down the mountain (except for a join being repaired by gaffer tape, years ago) and all the water travelling down the mountain has found many different routes and caused all this mess, we has a community, however small we are, after many complaints too, know that they are negligent and its down to this that it WILL cost THEM millions!

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  • Jiffy  |  January 29 2013, 10:02AM

    What attracted you to buying a house in a landslip area? What makes you believe the council should be paying to stabalise the mountain now, when they haven't anywhere else in the area? You do understand it would cost £millions to undertake anywork on the road? Would you like to contribute to the costs? You can be certain the landowner won't pay a penny.

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  • Marie42  |  January 28 2013, 10:23PM

    "Jiffy" - I am one of the 'fools' that you refer to in your recent comment and I would like to make it clear that we weren't so foolish not to take out house insurance when we bought our home, as this is a condition that we had to prove to receive our offer of mortgage! For you to comment that we were taking 'a chance and failed' just proves that you have no idea how much hard work and effort we have all put into our properties over the years!! We have been persistently trying to get the Councils attention on a part of the bank that had been moving for some months before the landslip, unfortunately for all the residents, it obviously wasn't that much of a risk!!!!

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  • Jiffy  |  January 28 2013, 6:49PM

    Philosoraptor - the homeowners are in exactly the same position as those fools who own homes on cliffs, which are crumbling into the sea. http://tinyurl.com/antwfl9 If they are very lucky, they might get half the value of the properties. As a tax and house insurance payer, I don't believe in pay fools and speculators my money.

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  • Zoomer  |  January 28 2013, 4:42PM

    First of all, why does the council HAVE TO demolish the affected houses, and why does the council HAVE TO pay compensation as well ? The council does not own the houses. What is the legal position ? I suspect that the cost of any demolition would fall onto the property owners, who in turn would make a claim on their house insurance, if they have any insurance that is. If your car was washed away and seriously damaged in a flood. It's down to you or the insurance company to " cough up ".

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  • Philosoraptor  |  January 28 2013, 2:38PM

    Jiffy, the council is obligated to provide full value of the home, make sure they home owners are not out of pocket and to ensure the home owners get the equivalent of what they are losing. That is quite substantial so just under £5,000 is not going to cut it.

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  • Jiffy  |  January 28 2013, 1:34PM

    I doubt if any of them have property insurance. The area is known for landslips and instability. About 25 years ago. 3 or 4 houses were destroyed by more than one landslip along that same road. Unaffected houses were selling for peanuts at that time, because of the potential for further slips. Anyone who claims they were unaware of the problems in Pantteg is either lying, stupid or both. Over 100 properties have been demolished in that area in the last 50 years and the signs of their removal are obvious everywhere. The council have no obligation to pay large amounts of compensation to homeowners in the landslip area. It's not as if they were going to use the land after the demolition of the properties. The homeowners took a chance and it failed.

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