Couple's £725k retirement home must be demolished five years after it was built

·3-min read
House in the village of Wicken built five years ago is to be demolished due to the inadequate of the foundations.  The £725,000 5 bed detached house was built back in 2017 but will now have to be demolished and rebuilt  due to structural movment. See SWNS copy SWCAHouse:A couple's £725,000 dream retirement home in the countryside is to be demolished  - just FIVE YEARS after it was built.  Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, can't even open the front door of their wonky five-bed house, which they bought in 2018.  The couple's detached home, which overlooks open fields in Cambridgeshire, is laden with metre-long cracks as it's being
A couple's dream home must be demolished just five years after it was built. (SWNS0

A couple's dream retirement home is set to be demolished just five years after it was built.

The £725,000 countryside property has metre-long cracks and its owners can't even open the front door.

Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, bought the five-bedroom house in the village of Wicken, near the cathedral city of Ely, Cambridgeshire, in 2018.

But the detached home, which overlooks open fields is being "lifted up" by swelling soil.

Insurers have blamed poorly-constructed foundations and ordered the house to be torn down and rebuilt as the damage is too severe to repair.

A couple's £725,000 dream retirement home in countryside is to be demolished  - just FIVE YEARS after it was built.  See SWNS story SWCAhouse.  Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, can't even open the front door of their wonky five-bed house, which they bought in 2018.   The couple's detached home, which overlooks open fields in Cambridgeshire, is laden with metre-long cracks as it's being
The large crack inside the garage of Madeline and Alastair Price's £725,000 dream retirement home in Cambridgeshire. (SWNS)

Mrs Price, a retired banker turned gardener, said: "It's a nightmare, really. The cracks are pretty much everywhere. None of the floors or work surfaces are level.

"Doors won't shut - I can't even open the front door because it's stuck. The insurance company said they can't save it. It's not just a building, it's our home."

The couple's home has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, underfloor heating, a wine chiller and a wood burner.

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A couple's £725,000 dream retirement home in countryside is to be demolished  - just FIVE YEARS after it was built.  See SWNS story SWCAhouse.  Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, can't even open the front door of their wonky five-bed house, which they bought in 2018.   The couple's detached home, which overlooks open fields in Cambridgeshire, is laden with metre-long cracks as it's being
A couple's £725,000 dream retirement home in countryside is covered in cracks. (SWNS)

The double garage has a two-metre-long crack inside that is about half an inch wide, while the kitchen and living room also have cracks.

Mrs Price said the issue was with the house's foundations - about 1.5m to 2m deep - being moved by the clay soil below, which is expanding due to ground heave, which means the swelling of clay soils that expand when wet.

The couple claim that builders should have accounted for this when building the home, which came with a 10-year guarantee under the Local Authority Building Control.

"The soil is bone dry with evidence that tiny tree roots are still there," said Mrs Price. "It's lifting the house up.

A couple's £725,000 dream retirement home in countryside is to be demolished  - just FIVE YEARS after it was built.  See SWNS story SWCAhouse.  Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, can't even open the front door of their wonky five-bed house, which they bought in 2018.   The couple's detached home, which overlooks open fields in Cambridgeshire, is laden with metre-long cracks as it's being
The couple say they can't even open the front door of the house because it is wonky. (SWNS)

"They should have known what the land was like when building the house. We first noticed little cracks after a couple of years but we put it down to normal new house stuff.

"It started in the hallway, on the staircase and in the back bedroom.

"A structural engineer visited and said it was clay heave, which is where the soil has expanded beneath the house."

The couple, both retired bankers, must move out of the house they share with their golden retriever when the demolition notice is given.

A couple's £725,000 dream retirement home in countryside is to be demolished  - just FIVE YEARS after it was built.  See SWNS story SWCAhouse.  Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, can't even open the front door of their wonky five-bed house, which they bought in 2018.   The couple's detached home, which overlooks open fields in Cambridgeshire, is laden with metre-long cracks as it's being
One of the cracks inside Madeline and Alastair Price's home in Wicken, Cambridgeshire. (SWNS)

They will be given compensation to rent a property for six months - but say they don't know if they'll return to their home or sell it off once it's rebuilt.

"They're going to demolish everything and do the foundations again," said Mrs Price.

"It could be at least two years out of the house. We wanted to live in the countryside, we thought this would be our home for a few years and then we would move onto our final home.

"We don't know at the moment if we'll come back. We might just put it straight on the market when it's rebuilt."

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