A 79–year–old woman’s garden has been out of bounds for six months after a mass amount of scaffolding was put up in it to support an historic wall.
Sheila Burton – whose house in Stoney Way, Matlock, is at the foot of the cliff, at the top of which sits St Giles Church – has not been able to get into her garden since workmen turned up to erect the immense structure in June.
“I’ve got a cliff side and at the top of it is St Giles Church,” she explained. “They just turned up and said ‘it’s got to go up’.”
The scaffolding was put up by the Derbyshire Dales District Council to prevent rocks from the historic wall that surrounds St Giles Church from falling down.
“It’s been a long time since June and nothing has been done,” Sheila said. “Why hasn’t it been done between now and then? I’ve rang the council and they’ve just said ‘we’re looking into it’.
“I can’t get into my garden, when it’s finished they’re going to have to do something with it because it’s overgrown now.
“I’ve lived here since 1986 and it’s never been a problem.”
Since the council put the scaffolding up it has learned the wall is listed, complicating the situation.
When scaffolding was first put up in the summer, Sheila’s neighbour, Anne Mack, said she couldn’t even get into her house as it was blocking her front door, however the authority acted quickly to resolve this.
Anne added: “I just feel there wasn’t enough initial planning.
“It’s caused problems over the summer of admittance, although they did try to mitigate this.
“It’s just unfortunate that the fact it was listed wasn’t found out earlier.”
Annoyed that the situation is still ongoing, Sheila has vowed to hold the council to account.
“I’m going to go to the next full council meeting and ask them how much it’s costing to put scaffolding up - it must be costing tax payers a fortune,” she said.
A spokesman for Derbyshire Dales District Council stated: “The scaffolding was put in place earlier this year to protect the two cottages under the St Giles Churchyard rock face after a section of the retaining wall partially collapsed, causing stones to fall over the rock face into the rear garden of one of the cottages.
“Derbyshire Dales District Council is responsible for the repairs and maintenance of all closed churchyards in the district and is now faced with a repair bill that could amount to as much as a quarter of a million pounds.
“The current retaining wall is inadequate and needs replacing.
“Because the wall is a listed structure and we are the planning authority, approval to do the work has to be granted by the Secretary of State because we cannot grant ourselves permission. What’s more, because building works affect consecrated ground, we need to get permission from the diocese to work in the churchyard.
“The Corporate Committee will be asked on December 13 to approve that all the necessary permissions are sought and to invite tenders for the work.”