A Bath man has been left worried for his health and his house after repairs to a Bath bridge ten years ago caused water to run into his house ever since.
Casey Nolan has lived in the “toll house” at the end of the Widcombe footbridge by Bath Spa station for the last 20 years. Though the front door and top room of the house — where in once people would pay the ha’penny toll — is at bridge-level, most of the house is underneath the bridge.
The nineteenth century footbridge had been refurbished in 2013, creating a problem of rainwater pooling up on the bridge. Further works to fix this were carried out by Bath and North East Somerset Council in 2015, with a trench drain to stop the puddles cut into the bridge — which also forms Mr Nolan’s roof.
He said: “It was a quick fix.”
It was never waterproofed, he says, and patches of damp have appeared on the walls and ceiling of his living room directly under the drain. He added :“Those patches aren’t getting any smaller.”
Mr Nolan has been speaking to the council about the issue, but said: “I’m not being kept informed, hence my frustration.”
He added: “They have come up with a solution but everything’s gone quiet.”
Consultants WSP were paid almost £18,000 by the council to investigate the issue, and they recommend works the council could do to fix the issue — but that was now 18 months ago.
In the meantime, Mr Nolan is concerned both for the impact that the damp problem could have on his health, as well as for what it might mean for the structure of the house, being concerned that there may be more water damage on the masonry behind the drywall.
Mr Nolan said: “When there’s really heavy rain I can hear it dripping.”
He added: “We don’t know what’s going on behind there and they seem reluctant to carry out those investigations.”
A survey of the house was carried out on April 14th but the council have said an asbestos survey needs to be carried out before they can look behind the drywall.
But Mr Nolan questioned why it was taking so long. He said :“They have considered the engineering side; they have not considered the human side.”
He added that he had been speaking to his ward councillor on Bath and North East Somerset Council, Alison Born, about the issue.
She said that she was aware of the issue and that various council departments were involved.
She said: “I have requested a meeting with those departments in early June so that I can better understand what actions need to be taken and by whom. I’m sure it’s in everyone’s interests that there is a proper understanding of what needs to be done and that the work is undertaken as soon as possible.
“I assume that it would be better for Casey [Nolan] if any work is done over the summer months.”
Mr Nolan said that the house had not been a “happy place” for him and he was keen to move, but said: “I have had an offer on the house but I can’t in good conscience sell it because I know there’s a problem.”
Mr Nolan has now submitted a complaint to the local government ombudsman.
LDRS, John Wimperis