AELFLEDA Terrace resident Jude Knight breathed a sigh of relief for the first time in three months this week after learning her insurance company will cover the costs of demolishing her home of 26 years.
She got the news in the same week she and the owners of other properties, knocked down following a landslip in November, finally received a bill from Scarborough Borough Council for the demolition.
The council was seeking to recover the cost of the emergency demolition from the homeowners, and for Jude this amounted to over £45,500.
Jude said: “I was contacted by my insurers and they are going to pay for the demolition of my home. I feel like I have breathed out for the first time in weeks.”
She is also now awaiting an evaluation from her insurers as to the value of her property, which will allow her to begin looking for a new home for the first time in over 25 years.
“I didn’t believe it until I saw it in black and white,” she said.
The other property owners, who have used other insurance companies and whose cover will vary, face an agonising wait to see whether they will also be as lucky as Jude.
SBC issued invoices for the demolition to six property owners, including the owner of 2 Aelfleda Terrace whose home had work undertaken to secure the safety of what is now the gable end following the demolition of the adjoining cottage.
Owners were notified in advance that the invoices were being issued and the approximate amount at a meeting on 31 January, which they attended with their insurers.
A spokesperson for the council said: “During these times of austerity and unprecedented budget cuts within local government it is essential, and nothing more than the residents of our borough would expect, that we protect the public purse and recover all public money spent on resolving what was a serious and unfortunate situation on private land.”
The council was forced to intervene in the interest of public safety and Section 78(3) of the Building Act 1984 allows the council to recover from the owner of each property the expenses it has incurred.
“We do this while fully appreciating and sympathising with the owners’ situation,” the spokesperson added.
“But at the same time it is our responsibility to recover in full the public funds we have used during the course of the demolition process.”
Meanwhile, Jude and a selection of other Aelfleda Terrace owners continue to bring litigation against Yorkshire Water as they continue a fight that began before the events of last November.
A fund set up to raise funds for Jude Knight in the wake of the disaster has raised almost a £1,000.
With the insurers willing to accommodate her costs, Jude explained her plans for the money: “I hope to buy something with it that will always remind me if the goodness of people.”