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Couple ‘devastated’ as £850,000 riverside cottage starts sinking | UK News

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A “devastated” couple have been forced to abandon their thatched cottage of 17 years after they woke up to find it sinking.

Ken and Gail Pitts, who are aged in their 60s, found out three months ago that the £850,000 riverside property in Horning, Norfolk, had a severe tilt.

And now they have had to move out while they wait to learn if it will have to be demolished.

Neighbours claimed the 1970s-built cottage started sinking shortly after it was re-thatched because wooden pile foundations broke under the weight.

Mr Pitts said there had been no warning signs the west side of their home was beginning to sink and it simply happened “overnight”, leaving them “devastated”.

He and his wife said they were working with their insurers to try and find a resolution to the issue over their reed-thatched home on the River Bure.

Some locals have expressed their concern for the pair.

Maggie Tuck said: “I heard one end was steel piles the other was old wooden piles. It’s the wood piles that have collapsed.

“They are going to take off the thatch to save it and then demolish. Very sad.”

Cottage
Image:
How the property looked before it started tilting

Sally Blackburn wrote: “We passed this last week and I actually couldn’t bear to look at it, too upsetting!”

Viv Garner added: “I used to dream of living there when I was a child. So sad to see this.”

The three-bedroom house has a large garden with a river frontage, along with allocated boat mooring and fishing opportunities.

Building surveyor Tom North said of the home: “Looking at it, the chances are there is something going on underground.

“Obviously the area is extremely wet and most of those properties, and certainly the old ones, will have timber pile foundations which will be driven down to the ground.”

He added: “One possibility is the house may have timber pile foundations and the timber piles may have broken because the ground below has shifted or has decayed and deteriorated.

“Because the timber piles have broken it may be imposed by the mass and isn’t able to support it anymore.”

A Broads Authority spokesperson said: “It is a huge shame that this lovely cottage appears to be in such a precarious position.

“Unfortunately it is something that can be an ongoing danger for properties built on unstable ground.

“We wish the owners all the best as they assess what can be done.

“If the cottage is within our area as a planning authority we would offer free pre-planning advice should this be needed in the future.”

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