Yorkshire grandmother 'nearly killed' by stone which fell from crumbling wall near her house

A Yorkshire grandmother who says she barely escaped being killed by a stone that fell from a crumbling roadside wall above her home has banned her grandchildren from playing in the garden until the local council fixes it.

The crumbling wall

Margaret Bedford says heavy traffic using the A635 Greenfield Road, in Holmfirth, has weakened the dry stone wall that looms above her home on Briar Court.

At times the vibrations are so powerful that she can feel them shaking her house, and she says she is dreading the day when the wall collapses onto her car – or anyone unfortunate enough to be standing beneath it.

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The situation, she says, has been made worse by the inaction of Kirklees Council, which said it would make the wall safe over the summer and then removed the job from its “to do” list.

Councillor Donald Firth by the wall

She said the authority also said wooden trellising attached to the wall might have contributed to its unsafe state.

Mrs Bedford was gardening when two big lumps of stone hit the ground just 18 inches from her head.

“Until that point I didn’t know that there was a problem," she said. “It frightened me when I looked up and saw the others that were loose. I started telling people not to sit on the wall or to walk on it. I called the council the next day and told them it was the wall holding up the A635.”

That was in March. Mrs Bedford rang again in April after checking the wall and finding more stones had become loose.

A surveyor the wall a fortnight later said repair work would be carried out in the next two months.

Mrs Bedford insisted that if stones fell from the wall onto her car she would make a claim for compensation.

She said she was told: “You can try, love, but you won’t get anything because you’ve illegally put up trellis on a wall that doesn’t belong to you.”

Mrs Bedford was told to remove the trellis , which was in place when she bought her home three years ago, as it was weakening the wall. She described the idea as “ridiculous”.

“The man who suggested it was quite condescending. In my opinion it’s the trellis that’s keeping the wall up," she added.

She has now banned her grandchildren from playing in her garden due to the unsafe wall.

“I can’t count the number of people that walk past and shout down to me ‘Do you know this wall is coming down?’ because there are stones lying on the pavement. My fear is that the wall is going to come down. Very heavy wagons roar up and down Greenfield Road. I can feel them when I’m inside the house.”

Sharing her frustration is local councillor Donald Firth, who said: “Most of the wall is now loose. A large stone has already fallen out and buried itself in Mrs Bedford’s garden. Had the stone landed another two feet Mrs Bedford would be no more. The bottom line is that the wall is unsafe and needs immediate action.”

Coun Naheed Mather, the council’s Cabinet Member for Environment said: “The Highways Team are planning to visit the location this week to inspect the wall and determine what work is required.

“Any works will be carried out as a priority with the aim to start on site next week.”