Stunned homeowners told houses to be demolished


The letter

150 families in the Hampshire village of Stubbington were horrified to receive letters telling them their houses were to be demolished in order to make way for a bypass. They were informed that the land was being compulsorily purchased, and that if they didn't agree to sell their properties to a contractor for demolition they would face legal action. This was the first that any of them had heard of the proposals, and they were given just 14 days to respond.

But what happened next shocked them all.

The council informed them it had all been a horrible mistake.

According to the Daily Mail, Hampshire County Council intended for these letters to go to a handful of landowners who are affected by the road. Some of their land will be purchased, but no homes will have to be demolished.

However a terrible error within the planning department meant that 150 letters were produced and set in error to people who weren't actually affected by the new road.

The council spent the weekend sending letters of apology for the distress caused. A council member told the Portsmouth News: "I would like to apologise to residents who received letters and for any distress this may have caused. A breakdown of communication between the council and the consultants led to an inaccurate letter being mistakenly issued."

The council is investigating how it happened, but this isn't the first demolition that hasn't gone entirely to plan.

Accidentally demolished

Things went even more awry this summer in Fort Worth, Texas, when a demolition team got confused, and demolished the wrong house. They were supposed to knock down the house next door, but because the couple hadn't moved into their new home yet, the team assumed the empty property was the one slated for demolition.

The same fate befell a homeowner in Dallas. The property had been on a list of properties set for demolition, but plans changed and it was supposed to have been removed from the list. The property was sold at auction this summer, and the owner had started renovations. Unfortunately it was never removed from the list, so one day he arrived to continue work and discovered the entire house had gone.

In September a man in Michigan devised a cunning plan to save his home from demolition: he swapped house numbers with a neighbour. It initially worked as the crew demolished his neighbour's house instead. However, on discovering their mistake they returned and demolished the right house too.

And it's not just planning departments that get the wrong address. In October we reported on the family from Gorton in Manchester, who returned from holiday to find their home stripped. They called the police, only to discover that a housing association had done the work - after a contractor was sent to another house on the street and misread the house numbers.

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