Archway pensioner hit with �20,000 bill for repairs

�A pensioner has been hit with a �20,000 bill to repair his garden wall after a lorry crashed into it – 25 years ago.

Frank Seaborne, 76, of Bickerton Gardens, Archway, received the bill from Homes for Islington (HfI), which manages his property.

The wall was first damaged when a heavy goods vehicle backed into it in 1986 and repair work was done at the time.

But the wall was judged unsafe in 2006, and since then blue hoarding has been in place while engineers judged how to fix it.

Despite numerous complaints about the hoardings from Mr Seaborne, who bought the house in 1989, little progress was made on the wall.

But now a neighbour trying to sell their house has complained the unfinished work is affecting the sale value, sparking action from HfI – including the �20,000 invoice.

‘Complicated case’

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Mr Seaborne said: “I thought I was going to have another heart attack when I saw that bill. I have had three already over this.

“It was never my responsibility. I reported it at the time and the council said they were monitoring it.

“They have been monitoring it for 20-odd years now.”

HfI says the full cost would be �40,000, of which Mr Seaborne is liable for 60 per cent.

A spokesman said: “We understand the concerns the Seabornes have with the work to repair the garden wall.

“This is a complicated case as it is a retaining wall and involves a number of parties, including structural engineers and Thames Water.

“We have managed to reduce the costs to the Seabornes where there was good cause to, but as leaseholders they do have to pay part of the costs to the repairs.

“Leaseholders have the right to challenge this when they receive the bill for the works or at a leaseholder valuation tribunal.”