Baildon: Network Rail to demolish two houses overlooking Yorkshire railway line after severe landslip

Network Rail is to forcibly demolish two detached houses which have been deemed unsafe following a landslip onto the railway line below.

The route between Bradford Forster Square and Ilkley has been closed to trains for over a month after heavy rain caused a major slippage on the embankment in the village of Baildon.

Aerial photos supplied by Network Rail at the time of the incident show that two detached properties’ gardens had fallen onto the tracks before clearance work was undertaken.

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The houses are believed to be on a small private lane off Roundwood Road.

Damage to the gardens of the two properties, which will now be demolishedDamage to the gardens of the two properties, which will now be demolished
Damage to the gardens of the two properties, which will now be demolished

Engineers have now determined that both properties are structurally unsound and at risk of collapse, and they will be demolished to ensure the safety of passengers once the line re-opens in the summer.

Further wet weather since the landslide caused the condition of the slope to deteriorate.

Network Rail said alternative solutions to the issue had been dismissed due to the ‘complex nature’ of the site and statutory powers will now be invoked, likely involving the compulsory purchase of the properties to allow for their removal.

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However, the rail infrastructure body declined to comment on the specifics of compensation arrangements for the affected homeowners, or whether the occupants’ alternative accommodation costs were being covered since their houses were declared dangerous.

A spokesperson said: "For safety reasons we have been unable to make any meaningful progress on site for several weeks. We are obliged to do everything we can to re-open this vital rail link for passengers.

"We have been in discussions with various third parties since this incident was first reported to us six weeks ago, but the complex nature of the site and the critical need to re-open the line means that regrettably, we now have no remaining options but to use our statutory powers to allow us to resume the repairs to this site which will allow trains to start running again."

The BBC was told by neighbours that the homeowners affected were ‘devastated’ and that both families had lived on the lane for more than a decade.

A projected re-opening date for the line has been given as the end of June.

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