“I’m terrified to even go into my kitchen now” - Norwich families fear homes will collapse

Chontelle Barker at her home in Cadge Road where large cracks have appeared due to subsidence. Pictu

Chontelle Barker at her home in Cadge Road where large cracks have appeared due to subsidence. Pictured with her grandson Harley Collier who was nearly hit after coving fell from the ceiling in her kitchen. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Chontelle Barker and Paula Norris are two grandmothers who share a wall – and a crippling fear that their kitchens may collapse around them.

Chontelle Barker at her home in Cadge Road where large cracks have appeared due to subsidence. Pictu

Chontelle Barker at her home in Cadge Road where large cracks have appeared due to subsidence. Pictured with her grandson Harley Collier who was nearly hit after coving fell from the ceiling in her kitchen. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Ms Barker and Mrs Norris live next door to one another on Cadge Road, in Earlham, and for two years they have seen subsidence create large cracks in their kitchen wall.

These issues reached new levels this week, after a piece of coving crashed down in Ms Barker's kitchen.

The 47-year-old, who lives with her fiancé Mark Nappin, 45, and their two Staffordshire bull terriers Buster and Millie, said: 'My three-year-old grandson Harley had just come out of the kitchen when it happened – had he been there when it fell he could've been seriously hurt or even killed.

'I'm terrified to even go into my kitchen now – I just don't feel safe in my own home.'


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Ms Barker, who is registered as disabled and suffers from severe depression, says the ordeal has exacerbated her emotional troubles, and hopes Norwich City Council will either eradicate the problem or find her a new home.

Mrs Norris – who lives with husband John, daughter Sarah, her partner Adam and three-year-old grandson Oliver – shares Ms Barker's fears.

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The 44-year-old cashier said: 'This has been our family home for nearly 20 years. I used to live in a two-bedroom house on Motum Road, but when I saw this house was available it was love at first sight.

'However, now it is a constant worry – especially with a three-year-old in the house.'

On more than one occasion, contractors working for Norwich City Council had plastered over the cracks, only for them to reappear, and on Wednesday, beams were erected in both kitchens.

A spokesman from Norwich City Council said: 'We are fully aware of the issues with these two adjoining properties on Cadge Road and are working with our contractors to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. Props were installed, purely as a precautionary measure but subsequent surveys have already confirmed this is an isolated issue caused by a leaking drain and the properties are not structurally unsound.

'We will be fixing the drain and underpinning the kitchen extension as soon as possible to prevent any further subsidence'.

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