A CITY mum has secured Government support for her campaign to license the building trade, after she watched her daughter being crushed to death by a collapsing wall.
Lindsay Burgess, of Upton, had popped to the shops with her daughter Meg, aged three, and son Wilson, 18 months, in her home town of Meliden in Denbighshire in 2008.
On their way back home, Lindsay turned to speak to a dawdling Meg, only to witness a 5ft 2in-high wall collapsing on top of her, causing fatal injuries.
After builder George Collier was jailed for two years in October 2012, having been found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence, Lindsay and her husband (and Meg’s dad) Peter set up Meg’s Campaign to license the building trade.
Just before Christmas last year, Chester MP Stephen Mosley arranged a meeting between the couple and Don Foster MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, in London.
Following that meeting, Mr Foster has promised to look at building competence schemes used in other countries and to write to local authorities to remind them of their powers in relation to dangerous structures.
Mr Mosley said: “Mr and Mrs Burgess put forward a very strong case to the minister and I was delighted with the time and attention that he gave for the meeting.
“Mr Foster was obviously deeply moved by Meg’s story and he has promised to work with ministerial colleagues across Government to try to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.”
In a letter to Mr and Mrs Burgess, Mr Foster said that amendments to building regulations could not be considered at this time as they have recently undergone an overhaul, although he has asked Meg’s parents to send them any evidence for consideration the next time regulations are reviewed.
In a direct response to their call to highlight the importance of properly designed, built and maintained freestanding walls, the minister offered to write to local authorities to remind them of their powers and the availability of guidance on freestanding walls.
He also asked for their thoughts on the role of the Government’s Planning Portal (www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/house).
Peter Burgess said: “We were both very surprised as we’d expected more resistance on the licensing front.
“It would seem that a recent review of regulations means the wheels are already in motion and input into the availability, clarity and quality of information available is a welcome and physical improvement meaning Meg's Campaign is having a tangible impact.
“On the licensing front it makes perfect sense to review the current state of play – which is overcomplicated, messy and wasteful – but we hasn't expected such a quick and direct response even though it does make perfect sense.”
Mr Mosley is also planning to highlight Meg’s Campaign in the House of Commons on Tuesday, February 5.
He has a 10-minute-rule motion in which he will present a Bill to Parliament to bring external load bearing and retaining walls within building regulations. At present they are not covered by the regulations.