Homeowners on Templars Gate in Halifax fear homes collapse after mystery leak

  • Video report by Jon Hill

Residents of a small hillside estate fear their homes could be at risk of collapse after a mystery leak sent water gushing through their properties.

Homeowners on Templars Gate in Halifax have been forced to install their own flood defences after thousands of gallons of water rushed through their gardens and driveways from the land above.

Julia Maccallum, who has lived on the estate for nine years, said: "We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know if the water is going to carry on coming down, we don't know if the sand bags are going to hold.

"We have been in touch with the insurance company and they won't do anything until it's all been dealt with. It's just a case of wait and see. The houses are timber framed, so the more water that goes in the more damage it's going to do."

She added: "My biggest fear is losing the house. We have been told many times that the land is moving, it's going to collapse and it's going to take everything with it."

Julia Mccallum is among the residents to put sandbags outside their homes. Credit: ITV News

Colyn Robinson, who bought his five-bedroom detached house in 2012, said his garden had become increasingly waterlogged, before a landslip earlier this year. In August a "waterfall" developed, flowing down the steps from his garden.

He said: "Over [August] bank holiday weekend we had a torrent of water start to come down the stairs. Luckily my neighbours were in and we managed to put some temporary measures in to stop the foundations from flooding. If we'd not done that I've no idea what could have happened.

"We've had structural experts round to try and give some help and support and they've said categorically there's going to be some damage to the foundations.

Water has come gushing down steps from the hill.

"I don't know where to go from here. We've not slept for three weeks. It's been unbearable."

The residents say they have repeatedly contacted Yorkshire Water, Calderdale Council and developers of a nearby housing estate to try to establish the cause of the problem.

Karen Longden, who moved in two years ago, said: "It's a complete nightmare. You expect when you buy a house that the right checks and balances have been done and if there is an emergency as this clearly is - a critical emergency - that there's going to be some sort of constructive plan. But instead all the agencies are pointing fingers at each other and we're getting absolutely nowhere.

"We are all watching this drama unfold and nobody is prepared to help us."

Residents have had to take steps to divert the water from their homes. Credit: ITV News

Neil Dewis, director of water at Yorkshire Water, said tests had been carried out on an aqueduct at the top of the hill.

He said: "We've been looking into this since April, working with the council. We've tested our aqueduct and we can't see any significant leaks coming out. This issue really started in August when we had a lot of rain. We know there are a lot of land water drains, we know a lot of things have been moved with the [nearby] development, so we just need to work with everyone to get to the bottom of it."

A Calderdale Council spokesperson said: "We understand this is a worrying situation for the residents affected, and we are taking their concerns very seriously.

"This is a complex case because there are many potential sources and routes for water to flow towards Templars Gate, and there are several possible causes of the landslip.

"We have advised residents that because the council doesn’t own or operate any assets in the field behind their homes, we don’t have responsibility for repairs or liability for any damage.

"We know this is a difficult situation, and have strongly advised the residents to seek appropriate independent legal and engineering advice.

"However, we are doing everything we can to help."

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