Belfast Telegraph

Homeowners hit by landslide appeal for Stormont support

By Lesley-Houston

Residents of homes hit by a huge landslide are living in fear of further collapse.

People living in Marlborough Terrace and Harding Street in Londonderry have been warned to stay away from the rear of their houses.

A call has been made for Stormont agencies to intervene to help Derry City Council cope with the collapse of the massive retaining wall.

SDLP councillor John Boyle said the Government must urgently address the situation where supporting walls are bringing down people’s gardens, leaving precipices at the rear of homes and posing a danger to children.

The councillor said at least half-a-dozen families have had to move out of the area after part of it collapsed on Saturday.

The incident followed the collapse of another section of the same wall in the Harding Street and Abercorn Road areas, which came down last Wednesday following recent torrential rain.

Several vehicles were completely destroyed but, miraculously, there were no injuries.

Residents in the Ballymagroarty area of the city have also been forced from their homes by tidal waves of contaminated water being swept through their homes from sewers because of the recent heavy rain and clogged drains.

Mr Boyle has praised the efforts of the council in lessening the potential danger of the situation but said “a combination of departments” at Stormont must intervene to help the local authority make the area safe.

The councillor said he witnessed a “substantial” collapse of the wall on Saturday.

Calling for “active and immediate action” from the Stormont Executive, Mr Boyle said: “The situation in the Marlborough area is intolerable for local residents. It’s obviously deteriorating rapidly and is very serious.

“I was present on Saturday afternoon when a significant section of wall collapsed.

“The problem is much bigger than anything Derry City Council can handle on its own.

“Council staff have been doing their utmost to keep people safe and they must be commended for their work.

“It’s now time that leaders in Stormont take the situation seriously and act to support the city council in alleviating the suffering of local people,” he said.

“The backs of people’s gardens are a precipice and people with young children have not been able to let them out to play.”

A spokeswoman for the council confirmed that the occupants of around a dozen homes were offered respite in a rest centre nearby but that none had so far taken up the offer.

“Residents are being advised not to enter their rear garden or yards, with no access permitted to the lane behind Marlborough Terrace,” she said.

The spokeswoman said arrangements for specialist contractors for the removal of oil and rubble were in place and that both locations remain closed to public access due to health and safety.

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