A couple in Hampton Wick has spoken of their frustration with Richmond Council after nearly eight years of a site being left “derelict” beside their home.

Ingrid, 39, and Matthew Gawn, 45, of Hampton Wick High Street, have said the council has “failed to keep track” of the site behind their flat, which “is also on a public pathway used by the entire village”.

Ms Gawn said: “The derelict building beneath us and open foundations adjacent to our home have been left in a shocking state of disrepair since 2009.

“In the eight years since then Richmond Council are guilty of a dereliction of duty.

“They have failed to keep up with the site, failed to utilise fully the enforcement legislation available to them, and most of all they have failed us and the other residents of Hampton Wick.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Many people use the walkway by the site

The freeholder of the site, who the couple does not want to named, began work on it in 2009 but they say nothing much has been done with it since.

The council has the power to issue an Untidy Land Notice, under section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act, with allows it to serve a notice to the landowner asking them to “take steps requiring land to be cleaned up when its condition adversely affects the amenity of the area”.

A spokesperson for the council said it had “issued two Untidy Land Notices and contacted the freeholder to address the appearance of the site” and went on to say that when the council’s enforcement team carried out follow-up visits “the found it to have been cleared” as per the requirements.

However, recent photographs show it in a state of disrepair.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Ms Gawn said: “To say this has had a negative effect on our mental health would be an understatement.

“We are both suffering greatly from anxiety and depression.

“We don’t know if the house in which we live is structurally safe, we don’t know if the major cracks and subsidence caused by having open foundations, periodically filling with water and weeds and subject to weather exposure, next to our home for eight years means it has been done irreversible damage, and we don’t know if Matthew’s sole asset, for which he has worked so hard, is now worthless.”

To this, the council spokesperson said: “Any concerns over the potential impact upon the leaseholder’s flat are civil matters and therefore not something the council can address through its powers.”

Richmond Council is not legally obliged to issue the Notices, as the use of the power is “discretionary and therefore up to the LPA to decide” whether appropriate in each case.

However, Ms Gawn argues that it is “not just a civil matter”.

She said: “It absolutely is a matter of public interest, and in the whole village’s interest for the council to either force the developer to finish the build or remediate the land.

“We are utterly powerless to do anything.

“They on the other hand have the power to remediate the land, but they refuse.”

Dev Patel, who runs Londis and lives next door with his wife Priya and his daughter, described the site as “horrible”.

He said: “It’s really bad.

“Our gate is right beside it. We have to walk by it all the time, at night it’s unlit- we have a little girl.

“We don’t know how much damage it’s doing to the property.

“If it was a main road in Richmond it would have been sorted out straight away.”

The couple launched a petition which currently has 141 signatures.

Laurie Dunivin, of Hampton Wick, commented: “I have to see this every day coming and going from my home.”

Skye Holland, who lives in Hampton, commented: “This is a disgraceful abandonment of responsibility leaving poor residents with worsening impact on their properties.”

Do you live in the area? Contact: grainne.cuffe@newsquest.co.uk