RESIDENTS who have been living next to a collapsed and deteriorating four-metre retaining wall for more than ten years are pleading for action to be taken after being faced with stagnant progress over ownership discrepancies.
The wall, deemed a ‘safety hazard’ by neighbours, is sited by Dillington Terrace in Worsbrough.
The site, including the wall, was previously owned by a building company who went bankrupt - forcing the assets to fall into the ownership of the Crown.
Property, cash and any other assets owned by a company when it is dissolved automatically pass to the Crown and become ‘bona vacantia’ - according to law under the Companies Act of 2006.
According to the government, the land and wall should now be dealt with by the Treasury Solicitor.
In response to concerns raised by residents in recent years, Barnsley Council tidied the site and cordoned it off to prevent access earlier this year.
The proper owner of the wall was unknown to local residents for years - who still thought the land belonged to the council - causing a lack of progress to be made after complaints.
The council have now said they are helping to ‘explore options’ for the Crown to fund a structural survey and remedial works - but can’t confirm if these will actually take place.
Angela Sherrington, 61, whose property neighbours the ‘eyesore’, has said she is frustrated that the wall hasnt been properly repaired or maintained in over ten years.
“It’s just been completely left for years,” she said.
“I remember when some of it collapsed and it was like an earthquake - the house shook.
“The council did come out and do a bit a couple of months ago - so this is actually the best it’s been in years - but it’s still so dangerous and needs sorting out.
“Kids sometimes play near it and it’s so dangerous.
“It’s just really frustrating that apparently it’s fallen to the Crown and nothing has been done for all this time.”
Normally, land which has fallen to the Crown will either be ‘disclaimed or sold for full market value’ - but no clear answer has been given yet as to what will happen regarding the dangers and unique situation at the Worsbrough site.
A spokesperson for Barnsley Council said: “We would like to reassure residents that the council is aware of the collapse of the retaining wall on Dillington Terrace, and we’ve cordoned the area off to prevent any access to it.
“Our highways team has put measures in place to protect the highway, and our neighbourhood services team has cleaned up the litter that was gathering next to the wall.
“The council does not own the retaining wall.
“The developer who built the houses adjacent to the wall went bankrupt, and the ownership of their remaining assets - including the wall - reverted to the Crown.
“We’re exploring what options there are for the Crown to fund a structural survey and remedial works - but whether this will be possible is yet to be determined.”