We shall NOT be moved! Defiant family refuses to leave their landslide-threatened house after ALL their neighbours move out so their properties can be demolished
- Sophie Kendall, 28, is refusing to budge from her hillside home near Port Talbot
- The terrace of ten houses is due for demolition due to risk of a landslide
A mother is refusing to budge from her hillside home in south Wales threatened by a deadly landslide – while neighbouring houses are being demolished.
Mother-of-one Sophie Kendall, 28, has resisted warnings to quit the home where she grew up in the middle of a hillside terrace.
Her neighbours moved out after the row of ten houses was assessed as being at risk from a landslide mountain above the village.
Wrecking crews moved in to knock down the homes – but Ms Kendall and her family are staying because they claim their insurers have said theirs is safe.
They say they have now been left in ‘limbo’ on their street in quiet Cyfyng Road in the village of Ystalyfera, near Port Talbot, surrounded by rubble.
Sophie Kendall, 28, her stepfather Richard Morrison and four-year-old daughter Jorgie-May have resolutely stayed put in their home in Ystalyfera, near Port Talbot, despite a demolition order
The house stand in the middle of a row of ten properties in quiet Cyfyng Road in the village of Ystalyfera, near Port Talbot, which are due for demolition
Ms kendall is resolutely staying put, despite houses being torn down on either side of her
Ms Kendall said: ‘We are not moving because this is our home.
‘I’ve only ever really lived here. I’ve got all my memories from birthdays and Christmas in this house. It means a lot to us.’
‘They have taken everything down to one side of our house and then they are going to start at the other end.
‘We didn’t have a clue that the demolition was starting. My four-year-old daughter has asthma and there is dust everywhere.
Ms Kendall, who lives with daughter Jorgie-May, four, and stepfather Richard Morrison who owns the house, believes it is built ‘on solid ground.’
She said: ‘There was a landslide to the rear of the gardens six years ago but the houses were not affected.
‘The insurers won’t pay anything because there is in not actually any damage to the house and the council hasn’t offered us anywhere to go.’
Mr Morrison has previously been fined for breaching the order to vacate.
Ms Kendall said: ‘We are not moving because this is our home. ‘I’ve only ever really lived here. I’ve got all my memories from birthdays and Christmas in this house. It means a lot to us.’
The row of terrace houses (10 in total) are under threat of the landslide. Ms Kendall’s is the only inhabited house in that affected row. Further down the street (top right), another row of homes are unaffected and not under threat of the landslide
Her stepfather Mr Morrison, who has lived there for 23 years, added: ‘It is not nice living in a street that’s being knocked down at the same time’.
‘We are still in limbo, as we have been for the last six or seven years. With no offer on the table it’s just impossible to move.
‘The council are more powerful than me, so I just have to sit tight in limbo like we have been.’
Up to 20 people were served with orders by the council following the landslip banning them from living there because of danger to their lives following ten tonnes of earth sliding into the road in 2017.
Geological surveys warn there is a very high risk of more landslides in the area – with an ‘immediate risk to life’ on Cyfyng Road.
Neath Port Talbot council are now carrying out a phased demolition programme on all the empty homes.
Mr Morrison was fined £100 by Swansea magistrates in 2019 after breaching the order by returning home but he insisted the assessments on his home have shown it to be safe.
He added: ‘The insurance company have deemed it fine. They said it was the grounds to the rear that’s the issue, but the house is fine.
‘We’ve had six risk assessments of the house and they’ve all come back clear. That’s going against the one risk assessment that Neath Port Talbot did six or seven years ago.
Mr Morrison was fined £100 by Swansea magistrates in 2019 after breaching the order by returning home but he insisted the assessments on his home have shown it to be safe
Neath Port Talbot council are now carrying out a phased demolition programme on all the empty homes
Geological surveys warn there is a very high risk of more landslides in the area – with an ‘immediate risk to life’ on Cyfyng Road
‘With no offer on the table it’s just impossible to move. My daughter was born here, in this house. It’s her home.’
The council said the work was being carried out for public safety on Cyfyng Road.
A council spokesman said: ‘The demolition orders in Cyfyng Road are being carried out for reasons of public safety.
‘The houses concerned, built on a slope, were affected by landslides in 2017 and after the council evacuated occupiers for their own safety, the owner and occupiers of three of the properties appealed against the action to the independent Residential Property Tribunal Wales.
‘The tribunal panel members rejected the appeals, ruling Neath Port Talbot council’s expert evidence showed none of the appeal properties were founded on solid rock and unanimously agreed the authority had shown there was a risk to residents from landslips.’
They said the council had worked with the people who had to leave to help with rehousing and insurance claims.
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