Bomb neighbours should not have to 'foot the bill' for damage, say Plymouth MPs

A resident told ITV News' Sam Blackledge he felt like he was 'in limbo'.

People in Plymouth whose homes and gardens were damaged by the removal of an unexploded World War Two bomb are still anxiously waiting to find out whether they will be left out of pocket.

MPs and council officials say they are doing everything they can to help those affected in Keyham - but it is not clear whether their insurance will fully cover the repairs.

Martyn Hammond's garden was damaged and several of his plants and ornaments destroyed in the operation.

He said: "We just feel like we're in limbo at the moment. We can't move forward.

"We can't afford to pay for the repairs. Our insurance companies are notoriously slow. Mine's being a bit difficult at the moment.

"But also, why the hell should we pay for it? Even if our insurance cover it, it's still going to cost us in excess fees and it's still going to cost us in high premiums. So we still end up footing the bill for all of this."

Martyn says his garden was 'a little oasis in the middle of Keyham'. Credit: ITV News

Before all the drama, which saw the 500kg bomb carefully extracted and transported through the streets and out to sea, Martyn's garden was his pride and joy.

"I had a little oasis in the middle of Keyham, and what you can see is what I've got left.

"I've lost all my pots. I lost the trees, lost my plants, I lost a lot of stuff that was given to me, which won't be replaced," he said. Martyn said he had experienced fantastic support from Plymouth City Council, but ultimately the question of "who will pay?" is down to insurers.

Three years ago a bomb was detonated in Exeter, causing significant damage.

The university took its fight for compensation to the High Court, but lost, as judges ruled it was an "act of war" and not covered by insurance.

Plymouth's MPs want to avoid the same thing happening in Keyham.

Luke Pollard MP says the Government should close the loophole which allows insurance companies to deny payouts. Credit: ITV News

Luke Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said: "People should have certainty that if they're insured, insurance companies can't use the loophole that those bombs were dropped in an act of war to avoid people being paid out.

"It's about peace of mind for people. A simple change that we know in Plymouth and in Exeter will make a big difference. Should this happen again.Johnny Mercer, Conservative for Plymouth Moor View, said: "These residents are not unreasonable people. They understand that this could take time, but they want to see a pathway, they want to see a vision

"They want to see how their lives are going to get back. So that's what I expect.

"Being in public life is a privilege and I expect those in public life to adhere to those high standards and make sure that those we're lucky enough to represent feel like we've got their back. If that happens, then I'm happy."