An elderly Aldershot couple have been told to pay more than £5,300 to repair a grade II listed wall bordering their garden – despite it only being listed in 2013.
Sue and Fred Windebank, of Hussar Court, said the 12ft wall, formerly part of the Cavalry Barracks, isn’t breaking or damaged on their side, and they don’t see why they should fork out for its upkeep.
They say when they bought their property the wall was not listed, but they were sent a letter around 18 months ago informing them they would need to help pay for the ‘piece of Aldershot’s history’.
“We thought we would have to pay £200 to £300,” said Mrs Windebank.
“Last week they [Rushmoor Borough Council] hand-delivered the letter with a breakdown of all the costs. I’m absolutely disgusted.
“As I understood it, it was up to me as and when to repair it, if it needed it.
“My husband is nearly 80. We just don’t have that sort of money.”
'Part of history'
Mrs Windebank believes that social tenants, whose gardens also border the wall, are not being asked to foot their share of the bill.
“I just feel indignant about it,” she said. “We have struggled all our lives, bought a property, never had social and now we are being told what to do with our property.
“If it’s my wall, it’s my wall and I will decide what to do with it. If they [the council] want it, they can have it.
“They say it’s a part of the history of the town. Well they can have it.”
Councillor Martin Tennant, Rushmoor Borough Council’s cabinet member for environment and service delivery, said: “I do sympathise with Mr and Mrs Windebank.
“However, the wall is a considerable length and within the ownership of several properties.
"And under the deeds of the properties it is made clear that private owners are required to maintain the wall and contribute to costs.
"First Wessex has already paid the costs for repairs and maintenance of their properties and the boundary wall, and Rushmoor Borough Council will pay the cost of works to the boundary wall where it passes through our land.
“The wall was listed grade II in July 2013, but even if it were not listed there is still a requirement within the owners’ deeds to maintain this wall. We have written to private owners saying we’d be happy to discuss the arrangements to pay the maintenance costs.”