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Revealed: the Allah Ditta DIY disaster
THIS is the Do It Yourself home improvement scheme that has gone so disastrously wrong the council have threatened to DEMOLISH the house.
A year ago the dream was a spacious six-bedroomed detached house in a nice area of Worcester.
Instead neighbours in Timberdine Avenue, Battenhall, have watched in amazement as the ‘builders’ have turned the house into a ruin with no roof or back and so unstable it could have fallen down at any time.
It was only saved from demolition by the radical solution of pulling the rear of the house down - leaving ‘what is left’ of the house safe.
The property belongs to Parlen Akhtar, the daughter of well-known local councillor Allah Ditta, who has been working on the site himself and is considered the ‘developer’ by the council.
Councillor Ditta, while acknowledging it is a ‘difficult site’, says ‘everything is in order’.
But a detailed statement by the city council about how they have had to intervene reads more like the script of a ‘botched buildings’ reality TV programme.
Planning permission was granted last May with the idea to turn a modest three-bed house into a six-bedroom home.
But it involved a lot of work - a two-storey front and rear extension, a two-storey side extension, the creation of a lower ground floor, a side and rear balcony and steps to the rear garden.
And getting theplanning permission seems to be the last thing that has gone right with the project.
Neighbours have renamed the building plot “the war zone” as a catalogue of troubles has descended.
In September the council found that the work that had been carried out had left the building’s foundations “dangerously overloaded”.
They got a court order ruling that the property could not be occupied and forced developers to take action to make the site safe, which they completed in January.
But this month, after more residents complained, investigators found that workers had removed a supporting wall, making the building “a dangerous structure”.
Within 48 hours, based on an independent report from a structural engineer, the council formally threatened to demolish the building unless immediate action was taken to make it safe.
Workers have now pulled down the rear of the house and a council inspection has now ruled that what is left is now safe.
Neighbour Paul Smith, 61, said: “It’s an absolute eyesore.
“It doesn’t even look like a house anymore.
“People have been working there now and then but lord knows what’s been going on, it looks like a war zone.
“If it’s been unsafe somebody should be fined.”
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “It looks terrible. I wish they’d get on with it.”
Conservative Cllr Ditta has been spotted several times working on the site himself and it is understood that the city council consider the former mayor Ditta to be the official “developer”.
He said: “Because it’s a development site people have been having a go.
“It’s a difficult site, it’s hard work. Everything isin order, and there are no problems.”
The city council say they will continue to monitor the work.
Ruth Mullen, the council’s corporate director, said: “As the local planning authority, the council will continue to monitor and assist the applicant as necessary to ensure the development is carried out in accordance with approved plans.”
WHAT WORCESTER CITY COUNCIL SAY
“Planning permission was given on 23 May 2013 for the redevelopment of 66 Timberdine Avenue.
“The permission covered a two-storey front and rear extension, a twostorey side extension, the creation of a lower ground floor along with side and rear balcony and associated steps to the rear garden at the property.
“In September last year Worcester City Council became aware that work at the site had resulted in the foundations of the building becoming dangerously overloaded.
“We obtained a court order under Section 77 of the Building Act 1984, requiring the owner to take action to make the site secure and to appoint a council-approved structural engineer to report on measures to make the building safe.
“The order also ruled that the building could not be occupied.
“The owner completed the necessary steps to comply with that order by 30 January this year.
“On Wednesday, April 2 the council was alerted by Timberdine Avenue residents that further work had taken place at the site.
“The site was visited by South Worcestershire Building Control, who took the view that the building had now again been made unsafe because of the removal of a supporting wall at the rear of the property.
“The city council commissioned a further independent structural engineer’s report, which confirmed that at that stage the building was a dangerous structure.
“On Friday, April 4 we advised the owner that we intended to demolish the building under Section 78 of the Building Act 1984 on the basis that it was a dangerous structure.
“Work was then undertaken by the developer at the site to remove the rear of the building.
“On Wednesday, April 9 our structural engineer visited the site after this was done and confirmed the remaining structure was safe.
“We are therefore not currently intending to proceed with demolition.”
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