Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Angry homeowner sues Balfour Beatty over leaky moat

The owner of a country house in Buckinghamshire is suing Balfour Beatty and the Highways Agency for at least ВЈ300,000 following a dispute over the effect that the 2001 construction of the Aston Clinton bypass had on the property's ancient moat.

Dr O.C. Penge has owned Moat House in Drayton Beauchamp, which is encircled by an ancient moat system and a series of ponds, since 1971.

In a writ lodged at the Technology and Construction Court, Penge claims that Balfour's construction of the road, which involved excavating and cutting deep into land adjoining the property, reversed the hydraulic gradient across the land and caused the water table supporting the moat and ponds to drop.

To make matters worse, Penge claims the pond system is inhabited by one of the largest, if not the largest population of native British crayfish in the South East. British crayfish are an endangered species.


Angry homeowner sues Balfour Beatty over leaky moat


As the water in the ponds started to drain away, Balfour was called in in 2002 to find a temporary means of keeping the ponds topped up. But Penge claims no permanent reinstatement works have ever been carried out.

Penge is now suing both Balfour and client the Highways Agency for breach of duty of care.

The homeowner is claiming the estimated costs of remedial works, including the abstraction of ground water from bore hole wells to keep the ponds topped up.

The bill is thought to total at least ВЈ300,000, although Penge is currently unable to provide a definitive cost.

He is also seeking damages in respect of his losses from the two defendants, damages for breach of contract as against Balfour Beatty, and damages for breach of duty as against both the contractor and the Highways Agency.

Bovis Lend Lease sues Harley St hospital for £4.2m