A FAMILY man has reached the end of a seven-year legal battle which will see his £330,000 property investment bulldozed.
Paul Harford says his Culmington Properties Ltd is about to go bust because Welsh Water has a court order to demolish the two semis he built in Norton Avenue, Saltney, after water mains were discovered under the foundations.
Mr Harford claims Welsh Water would have charged him £180,000 to divert the two pipes, supplying millions of gallons of water to Shotton Paper – which in turn could have billed him up to £500,000, depending on how long the water was turned off.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Mr Harford, who had hoped to find a solution to the problem uncovered by the buyers’ solicitors. He now fears he will be forced to give up his own home after losing not only the profit on the semis, which he had hoped to sell for £330,000, but the £85,000 plot, £130,000 construction costs and more than £40,000 on legal bills.
“I’ve worked hard for years and my money is tied up in property – or was,” said Mr Harford, 55, who lives with partner Jill in Kinnerton and has three children and three step-children.
“Most of my spare money, my hopes and dreams were wrapped up in these houses,” said Mr Harford. “I’ve got no job, no prospects and the building industry is rubbish at the moment.”
He was unaware of the pipes even after hiring a lawyer to carry out legal searches because the only clue to their existence concerned a ‘vague’ covenant on the land.
Welsh Water is currently investigating why, according to Flintshire County Council, it raised no objections when planning permission was granted.
A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “We require access to water mains at all times in order to carry out maintenance, repairs or replacement and it is extremely dangerous to build over a water main.
“A burst on large diameter water main could result in severe injury or death.”