Hidden sewer could have caused North Laine house collapse

Posted On 18 Mar 2015 at 5:21 pm

Anyone planning building work in the North Laine is being warned to take extra care following the collapse of a house last month.

Firefighters attend after the collapse of the house

Firefighters attend after the collapse of the house in Over Street last month

The North Laine Community Association (NLCA) was told on February 17 that work to the basement of an end of terrace house in Over Street had put it at risk of collapse, with an unidentified sewer earmarked as the cause.

The very next day, these fears were proved accurate when a large section of the house’s wall fell down, leading to the evacuation of several neighbours.

The NLCA is now issuing advice to any other residents thinking of undertaking similar work.

In an article to be published in its magazine next month, it says: “At the last NCLA meeting residents from Over Street reported that, following excavation of the basement, 1 Over Street was in danger of collapsing and had caused damage to numbers two and three.

“A previously unidentified sewer is believed to be the cause.

“Many of you will have seen the scaffolding and the demolition taking place and may have thought of the residents who through no fault of their own had to vacate their property not knowing whether they would ever be able to return.”

It advises anyone carrying out building work to a wall shared with neighbours or excavating foundations to find out whether the Party Wall Act applies, adding: “Given the unknown nature of many of the foundations of North Laine houses and of the sewers which may lie below our houses, this is a critical requirement.”

To find out more, visit www.planningportal.gov.uk.

  1. feline1 Reply

    Eh? Why are the sewewrs “unknown”? They’re owned by Southern Water. Don’t they have records of their own infrastructure. Wouldn’t it be nice if they lost out water bills too.

  2. Rostrum Reply

    Maybe the owners were digging out a larger basement and in doing so weakened not only the wall above but the sewer below !

  3. rolivan Reply

    Feline,Southern Water inherited the System so whoever was in control before them might not have passed on or even had the relevant info.Most of these old Houses were built with no Foundations and as I was saying to some posters a while back this could be the outcome of many terraced houses in this area and Hanover also.They are all virtually holding each other up
    Although very quaint they are not much better than the so called slums that were pulled down or bombed during and after WW2.

  4. feline1 Reply

    Yes but Southern Water own them now and have a statutory responsibility to keep them sorted, they can’t just plead incompetance!

  5. Mary Funnell Reply

    There is also a little known river running east/west from the Steine area towards Hove and I don’t know its exact whereabouts, but probably around the Western Road area. Perhaps there are river deposits under the houses?

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