Five families were evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night after a landslide destroyed a 70ft wall built against a higher level of houses, sending bricks and rubble crashing into their back gardens.
Distressed residents scrambled from their homes in the Sneinton area of Nottingham at about 1am yesterday morning after tonnes of rubble came tumbling down onto the terraced properties in the pouring rain.
Emergency services rescued the families from four separate properties as their bathrooms and kitchens flooded during a torrential downpour, which is believed to have contributed to the landslide.
Nottingham has had an inch (25mm) of rain over the past few days, falling over already saturated ground which has seen the River Trent burst its banks in sections over the past week.
The fallen wall separates two rows of terrace houses built on different levels of a hillside estate, with the brickwork built from the bottom of the garden of the lower homes to the front of those above.
Structural engineers were today examining possible causes of the collapse – which could include the heavy rain in recent weeks, errors in the construction of the wall or shifting foundations – after photographs showed the crumbled wall lying inches from the homes, with piles of rubble blocking a stairway between the two roads.
A City Council spokesperson said: ‘We are doing all we can to provide help and support for residents affected by the collapse of a large wall in the early hours of Wednesday morning. This was an awful incident where everyone is relieved there have been no injuries, but which has left households already coping with lockdown with significant issues to deal with.
‘Boundary and retaining walls are generally the responsibility of property owners and we believe this to be the case here, but in situations like this, councils have the powers to carry out work which ensures people’s safety, with the ability to recover costs.
‘We are now focused on assessing the condition of the affected gardens and properties and making the area safe before turning our attention to the clear-up work.’
Five families were evacuated from their homes in the middle of the night after a landslide destroyed a wall in Nottingham
Distressed residents scrambled from their homes in Nottingham at around 1am yesterday after the 70ft high wall collapsed
The fallen wall separates two rows of terrace houses built on different levels of a hillside estate in Nottingham
The brickwork was built from the bottom of the garden of the lower homes to the front of those above in Nottingham
Further weather warnings for snow and ice have also been put in place for Britain on SUNDAY (left) and MONDAY (right)
Nottinghamshire Police said no one was injured and evacuees returned to their homes at 6am the same day. Lynn and Terry Oakley, who live opposite the affected homes, described a ‘huge bang’ and feeling their house move.
Mr Oakley, who has lived on Spalding Road for 30 years, said: ‘We heard a huge bang and the house moved. We thought what was that?! Kids were out here on the street. They were scared and frightened.
‘We took a couple of families in to help while they were evacuated. The wall that fell was built 15 years ago after it was replaced. It’s the most shocking thing to have happened here.’
Neighbours above and below the wall are now living in fear of further collapse whenever they hear a creak or bang.
‘There is some of that,’ said Sean Myatt, 57, who works at Nottingham Trent University and whose house is directly beneath the remains of the structure. ‘My housemate who sleeps in the back is nervous.’
Mr Myatt only bought his £129,000, two-bedroom property in December and now like many in Spalding Road he is concerned about its value and safety. The wall is still up behind his property and is being assessed by the council’s structural engineers.
‘I am concerned,’ said the lecturer in theatre design, who woke up when he heard the structure collapse. ‘They only built that wall a little more than 10 years ago and it’s come down.’
Five families spilled out into his street after the collapse, dressed in their pyjamas and dressing gowns.
In Windmill Lane above the wall, a further six households were evacuated by the police and they were huddled on the street from 1am until 5am in the freezing cold.
‘There were two drops,’ said a 25-year-old finance manager, who lives directly above the collapse.
‘I thought someone was taking the mickey moving bins at 1am. I looked out of the window and I was shocked. There is a point where you don’t know if it’s safe.’
The attraction of properties on the tight terraces of this part of Sneinton are their elevated position on a steep slope affording sweeping views of the city from the historic Lace Market in the west through Nottingham’s old industrial heartland to the top of the church in Sherwood towards the north east.
Now that attraction looks like a threat, after six feet of the householder’s back garden was sliced off when the wall fell.
‘I bought it for the views,’ said the young man, ruefully. He acquired his neat two-bed terrace for £105,000 five years ago.
The dark earth at the edge of the sheer drop in his garden is little more than 10 feet from the back door.
‘We were just thankful no one was down there. Kids could have been playing. You have to try to take a positive,’ said the office worker, who like most of the country is working from home.
Lynn and Terry Oakley, who live opposite the homes in Nottingham, described a ‘huge bang’ and feeling their house move
Police said five families from four houses had to be evacuated in the pouring rain in the Sneinton area of Nottingham
Residents are waiting anxiously to find out if their insurance companies will pay out, or if they will have to make a claim from the contractor that undertook the rebuild of the wall in 2003.
Meanwhile, a young woman who has just had a £135,000 offer accepted on a semi-detached property in the neighbourhood, was eyeing the rubble from the obliterated wall nervously, after seeing the devastation in the news.
‘I am concerned. I don’t know now whether to buy,’ said the 28-year-old recruitment executive, who quizzing locals in her lunch hour. ‘The house could be affected and then there’s the insurance.’
Norman Wheatley, who has lived on Spalding Road for 52 years, described the moment huge pieces of brick fell into his garden and hit his conservatory.
The 57-year-old told Nottinghamshire Live: ‘I was asleep and my daughter ran into my room to wake me up. The whole middle section of the wall had fallen away and the two sides folded in.
‘The people above us (on Windmill Lane) informed the council who have been out to assess it. It’s damaged the walls of the conservatory a bit but not the actual house. It’s completely smashed the garden.
‘We’re really lucky it did not happen during the middle of the day. Sometimes children play out in the gardens. It could have been even more serious and I’m just glad no one was hurt.’
Mr Wheatley said the council had contacted him and said assessors would now be surveying the damage.
Clifford and Sandra Lowe, 74 and 76, told told Nottinghamshire Live that they fear their home could be next to be hit as they live below a part of the wall which did not fall away.
The couple, who have been together for 33 years, were woken during the middle of the night but their home was not evacuated. They said: ‘It is so shocking. It made such a loud noise and we felt the ground move.
‘The whole wall has completely come away. There’s so much damage. We are worried the bit of wall above us could be next. We have been told to not go outside into the garden. We were asked to evacuate but we said no. We have had nothing but bad luck.’
Officers arrived at the scene in Nottingham to find severe damage to the homes, with bathrooms and kitchens flooded
Police said emergency services were called by ‘distressed residents’ following the report of a landslide in Nottingham
Nottingham-based structural engineering expert Carl Hilton told MailOnline today: ‘It is a structural failure because it should have been designed for that loading. Something’s gone wrong, obviously.
‘Maybe the drainage behind the wall was inadequate and was allowing the water to build up, or it could have been an inadequate design from day one.’
Mr Hilton, who is a director at civil and structural engineering firm BSP Consulting, added: ‘Two of the things that the walls are designed to do is take the weight of the ground behind it as well as the weight of any hydrostatic head – a height of water behind the wall.
‘In a period of heavy rainfall you get an increased level of water behind the wall, so the wall’s got to withstand the weight of the soil. In addition to that it’s got to take the weight of the water. After a period of rainfall you could have a significant extra load on the wall.’
He added that he previously seen a similar wall collapse in Northamptonshire, and acted as an expert witness giving analysis to a client and insurer on what caused that wall to fall.
Speaking about what must happen next in Nottingham, Mr Hilton said: ‘You have to make it safe to get a construction team in there to do it, temporary work to do it, so anybody constructing the new wall is not at risk.
‘It is quite complicated to plan it out. The key design criteria are you need to know what the ground is, so you need quite an extensive ground investigation report, so you know what the ground is below and behind the wall, and then what’s on the top side of the wall, so you could have an empty grass field or a big heavy office block – so it’s the imposed loading behind the wall.’
Nadia Whittome, Labour MP for Nottingham East, tweeted: ‘Very concerned that families had to be evacuated from their homes in Spalding Road and Windmill Lane following a landslide and the collapse of a large brick wall. I will be following this up with the council as matter of urgency.’
Nottinghamshire Police Inspector Charlotte Allardice said: ‘Emergency services were called from distressed residents following a report of a landslide in Spalding Road and Windmill Lane at around 1am on Wednesday.
Nottingham City Council said it is aware of this incident and is supporting the police in their efforts to help affected residents
An aerial view of the scene in Nottingham, where a 70ft wall collapsed into the garden of four homes following heavy rain
‘They needed assistance with somewhere to stay overnight. They returned to their homes at around 6am having spent time with their neighbours. Roads close to the incident had to be closed until the area was deemed to be safe.
‘The force is working closely with the local council and we are using our established contingency and emergency plans to respond to the situation. There have been no reported injuries.’
A Nottingham City Council spokesman said: ‘We are aware of this incident and are supporting the police in their efforts to help affected residents.
‘All residents in affected properties were safely evacuated nearby and we have arranged for temporary accommodation to be made available this morning for residents who need it.
‘We have arranged for structural engineers to attend to assess damage to the properties from the wall collapse.’
In June 2010, a landslide nearby resulted in a wall subsiding between two rows of houses on Loughborough Avenue and Finsbury Avenue. Gardens and the backs of eight houses were damaged but no one was injured.
Separately, in Whitefield, Greater Manchester, residents with homes overlooking a park have been ‘strongly advised’ to keep away from the end of their back gardens after a landslide left them teetering on the brink of collapse
Alan Bailey, who has lived on the road in Whitefield for 39 years, said he used to be able to walk to the park via his back garden
Separately, in Whitefield, Greater Manchester, residents with homes overlooking a park have been ‘strongly advised’ to keep away from the end of their back gardens after a landslide left them teetering on the brink of collapse.
People living on Cromwell Road, opposite Springwater Park, were warned following the incident last Friday.
Letters have been sent out by Bury Council amid the precarious state of some gardens – which locals said was a problem ‘years in the making’.
High levels of the River Irwell, caused by Storm Dennis, Storm Ciara, and most recently Storm Christoph, have caused further damage to parkland.
A footpath to the stretch known locally as Sailor Brow, along with the entrance to the park on Radcliffe New Road, have been shut.
The trail is where most of the damage was caused after heavy rain caused the River Irwell, which runs through Springwater Park to burst its banks.
Alan Bailey, who has lived on Cromwell Road for 39 years, said he used to be able to walk to the park via his back garden.
People living on Cromwell Road in Whitefield, opposite Springwater Park, were warned following the incident last Friday.
A section of Springwater Park in Whitefield, Greater Manchester, which is closed for repairs after a landslide
Mr Bailey, 67, said: ‘We used to be able to walk down, it was always sloping but we could walk, now you’d have to parachute down the back. It started to deteriorate with the first big storm a couple of years ago.
‘I reported it to the council and they had people coming back and forth, but it wasn’t unit last Friday when they delivered letters through our doors telling us what’s happened.’
Another resident said the situation and the state of the land had left them ‘anxious’. They said: ‘It’s no surprise at all that we’re in this situation. I went down at the weekend after receiving the letter and I was horrified at the severity of it.
‘Our garden is fine, it’s our neighbours on the other side of the road who are on the edge. With the weather getting worse, we’re anxious.’
Just yards away from the entrance of Sailor Brow, metal fences have been put up as part of flood defence work being carried.
More robust temporary fences and signage was being put up on Sailor Brow as council staff keep an eye on the situation until an electronic monitoring system can be installed in the next two months.
A closed footpath leading to Springwater Park in Whitefield, Greater Manchester, after the landslide
A photograph showing the closed road leading to Springwater Park in Whitefield, Greater Manchester, after a landslide
Bury Council is carrying out work to review the issue. Last year, it commissioned a civil engineering consultant to investigate the affected areas.
The company has since revisited the site and is working with the town hall to assesses the short term and long term plans for the area.
Bury’s cabinet member for environment and climate change, Councillor Alan Quinn, said: ‘We’ve been quoted by our consultants that it would cost £5million to £6million to rectify the problem.
‘Whether we get this money from the government or not, the work has to go ahead, the safety of our residents is paramount. We’ve had it confirmed that this is storm damage.
‘The most recent landslide was caused by Storm Christoph, but this has been years in the making and we’re going to have to get engineers to design the scheme and stabilise the bank.
‘We’re going to send in electronic probes to monitor the movement of the land too.’
It comes as thousand of Britons woke to continued snow chaos today as areas braced for blizzards that could bring roads and rails to a standstill over the next five days amid ‘significant’ falls of up to 3ft 4in (100cm) deep.
Noy Allan clears snow outside her house in Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire, today as Scotland is hit by blizzard conditions
Heavy snow cowers the north east of Scotland today as a car is driven through Insch in Aberdeenshire
A woman from Newtonmore plunges through a hole in the ice in Loch Inch, in the Cairngorms National Park today
A snowplough clears a street in Aviemore today as the Scottish Highlands experiences blizzard conditions
A woman plunges through a hole in the ice in Loch Inch, in the Cairngorms National Park today
Much of northern England and Scotland are under weather warnings for snow and ice until at least the end of next Monday amid concerns those living in remote villages could become cut off for days without power. The warnings were also today extended all the way down the east coast to southern England from noon on Saturday.
Temperatures are set to plunge across the UK with even London not expected to get above 3C (37F) between this Sunday and next Thursday, while more rain is on the way bringing an increased flood threat to nearly 200 areas.
The Environment Agency has 154 flood alerts and 44 warnings out for England, with concern for residents near the River Thames in Berkshire and Oxfordshire, and the River Severn in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire.
Cold air from Scandinavia will continue to sit across northern areas for much of this week, while warm and moist air is pushing in from the Atlantic to the South West. Where these two air masses clash, the rain will turn to snow.
The Scottish Government is now deciding whether to convene its resilience committee amid concerns over the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programme north of the border, already lagging behind the rest of the UK.
A paramedic is seen shoveling snow in Aviemore today as the Scottish Highlands experiences extreme weather conditions
A snow plough clears a street in Aviemore today as severe weather conditions hit the Scottish Highlands
Al Goodridge, from Newtonmore, creates a channel in the ice in Loch Inch, in the Cairngorms National Park, today
A woman poses after her swim in the frozen waters of the River Calder in Glen Banchor today
Alice Goodridge, from Newtonmore, swims the frozen waters of the River Calder in Glen Banchor in the Cairngorms today
Vehicles carrying vaccines may not be able to reach areas in the northern half of Scotland and pensioners may be unable to leave their homes to attend vaccination centres if the weather becomes ‘challenging’ as is expected.
The UK now faces five days of snow and ice, with three yellow weather warnings for snow for today covering most of Scotland and northern England, meaning drivers risk becoming stranded and power cuts are possible.
There are 154 flood alerts (amber) and 44 warnings (red) for England today, particularly around the Thames and Severn
The Met Office said 4in (10cm) to 8in (20cm) of snow could fall on higher ground, with 1ft 4in (40cm) predicted to fall over the Grampians.
There is also a yellow warning for rain covering lower parts of Scotland and northern England until midday on Saturday, meaning localised flooding is likely. A similar warning for rain is in place covering most of Counties Derry, Antrim, Down and Armagh until midnight tonight.
Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Mark Sidaway said: ‘Into the weekend, snow will continue across much of Scotland, and is likely to increasingly fall to low levels before beginning to move south into northern and eastern England. We are likely to see some very large accumulations across higher parts of Scotland especially, with strong winds leading to significant drifting and blizzard conditions at times.’
There is an amber warning for heavy snow covering northern Scotland in force from midnight tonight until 6pm on Saturday, meaning communities could be cut off for several days.
The Met Office expects Scotland’s highest ground exposed to strong easterly winds to see up to 1ft 8in (50cm) of snow by Saturday night, but ITV’s Good Morning Britain forecaster Laura Tobin said the figure could actually be closer to 3ft 4in (100cm).
Forecasters also warned there could be long interruptions to power supplies and services such as gas, water and mobile phone coverage.
Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, known as ‘The Ship of the Fens’, is shrouded in early morning fog today
A van drives through a flooded road in the Millbrook area of Southampton this morning following further heavy rain
The White Cliffs of Dover in Kent are pictured today, following a cliff fall yesterday, which is thought to have been caused by a combination of high winds and freezing rain being absorbed into the chalk and then expanding, causing the cliff to weaken
A woman takes a picture of the White Cliffs of Dover in Kent today, one day after a cliff fall
Flooding closes the road past Cookham Moor after the River Thames burst its banks near the Berkshire village this morning
Over the past few days, southern England has enjoyed relatively mild temperatures, with the mercury hitting 11C (52F) in places, but it will also see winter tighten its grip. Yesterday’s high was 11.3C (52.3F) in Swanage, Dorset.
** Have you taken any photographs of the snow today? Please email them to: firstname.lastname@example.org **
Mr Sidaway said: ‘Although amounts of snow across England are likely to be less than seen across Scotland, the potential is there for some heavy snow across eastern England later in the weekend, and perhaps elsewhere in southern Britain as we head into next week, with very cold easterly winds.’
A yellow weather warning stretching from Norfolk all the way up the east coast of England will come into force at 3pm on Saturday and remain in place midnight on Monday.
Some 0.8in (2cm) to 1.6in (4cm) of snow could fall in the North East of England, with 2.4in (6cm) to 3.1in (8cm) potentially falling on east-facing slopes.
Meanwhile Natural Resources Wales had four flood alerts in place, including along the Upper Severn in Powys and for South Pembrokeshire.
Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: ‘The Met Office is warning us that this period of challenging weather is set to continue, and become more difficult for parts of the country at the end of the week and into the weekend.
‘It’s important to remember the current Covid restrictions mean you should only be leaving your home for an essential purpose. Please consider if your journey is absolutely necessary before setting off, especially if you’re in the amber warning area.
Flooding closes the road in Cookham Moor, Berkshire, this morning after the River Thames burst its banks
Flooding closes the road past Cookham Moor after the River Thames burst its banks in parts of Berkshire this morning
Beachgoers wrap up well to protect themselves from the wind and rain this morning at Seaburn beach in Sunderland
Dog walkers go for a stroll along Seaburn beach in Sunderland this morning during wet and windy conditions
A van drives down a foggy lane at Dunsden in Oxfordshire this morning as flood alerts remain in place across Britain
A blanket of fog shrouds the countryside on a cold morning as day breaks at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today
A foggy morning at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today as parts of Britain prepare for severe weather in the coming days
Gardeners clear a path around through the first snowdrops of the season at Audley End House in Saffron Waldon, Essex, today
Hardener Rachel Turfrey walks today among the snowdrops at Painswick in Gloucestershire which are now in full bloom
A beautiful sunrise over West Park in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, this morning as parts of Britain prepare for severe weather
‘If you do have to make an essential journey during the warning period, you should make sure that you plan your journey in advance, drive to the conditions and follow Police Scotland travel advice. The forecast snow is likely to cause difficult conditions on the roads and the wider transport network.’
Transport Scotland said the trunk road network will be closely monitored, with dedicated patrols and road surface treatments. The Multi-Agency Response Team was activated at the start of the week and will remain operational for the duration of the weather warnings.
Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock said: ‘Government restrictions on only travelling if your journey is essential remain in place and so with an amber warning for snow, please consider if your journey really is essential and whether you can delay it until the weather improves.
‘If you deem your journey really is essential, plan ahead and make sure you and your vehicle are suitably prepared by having sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food, water and charge in your mobile phone in the event you require assistance.
‘The Met Office, Traffic Scotland and Sepa websites and social media channels have valuable information about weather disruptions and we would encourage people to check these sites before setting off on their journey.’
Power company Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) last night mobilised engineers to prepare for lines being brought down.
A spokesman said: ‘SSEN’s current weather model shows continued wintry conditions bringing heavy snow across the north of Scotland, with the worst of the weather expected in Highland Perthshire, Deeside and the central Highlands.
‘SSEN has enacted its well-established resilience plans, increasing its standby resources in anticipation of potential damage to its network.’
** Have you taken any photographs of the snow today? Please email them to: email@example.com **
Flop gear! Hilarious picture shows parking fail after car is left with its back tyres on top of a WALL
This hilarious picture shows one of the worst parking fails ever after a car was left with its back tyres on top of a wall.
A police officer spotted the motor which ended up in a precarious position when it rolled over a wall and smashed into another parked vehicle.
Icy conditions over the last week in West Yorkshire have made driving conditions difficult, but none more so than for this driver in Bradford. His motor appears to have skidded over the wall and plunged into another vehicle.
Thankfully, nobody was injured in the collision. PC Tom Dockerill, who shared the picture, quipped: ‘sorry sir, you cannot park there’. He added: ‘Thankfully no one was in the vehicle and it was just a bit of bent metal.’
A police officer spotted the car which ended up in a precarious position when it rolled over a wall in Bradford, West Yorkshire, yesterday