THE Aldershot family who lost everything when their home collapsed have been told they could be back living in a replacement house there within seven months.
Bheem Sampla told the News that contractors have begun preparing the ruins of his old home for reconstruction to start.
“We are hoping before Christmas to get back in if everything goes to plan,” he said.
“And we hope it does as well because we’re dying to get back,” he added.
Along with his mother and father and younger brother Vijay, Mr Sampla was forced to flee the family home of 30 years when it suddenly started to fall apart at the same time that shrub clearance work commissioned by Rushmoor Council was being carried out next door.
Asked how he felt about moving back to the site of such a traumatic accident, Mr Sampla said: “I’m all right with it. I’m dying to move back and so is my brother, though my parents are scared — they wonder whether it will fall down again.”
The rebuilding work is being paid for by the family’s insurer Legal & General at a cost of around £200,000, although the company itself is still deadlocked in negotiations with the insurers of both the council and the contractors, Zurich and Axa respectively, as to where ultimate liability rests.
Although thankful for the progress towards rebuilding the family home, Mr Sampla is acutely aware that it has taken ten months to get this far and it could be another seven before the family can move back into their home at 80 Queen’s Road.
The News contacted the General Insurance Standards Council, which regulates the sales, advice and service standards of 6,500 insurers and intermediaries, to ask whether it considered it acceptable for Mr Sampla’s family to have been living in temporary accommodation for ten months.
A spokeswoman for the GISC said: “The answer is no. The General Insurance Standards Council code clearly requires our members to sort out claims, even within complex cases, in a reasonable time.”
She went on to suggest that the family might complain to the financial services ombudsman over the service they have received.
The News informed Mr Sampla that his family might be able to take action over their treatment. They were considering their options at the time of going to press.