Dunmow wall demolished by dustbin lorry

The 40 foot long wall came crashing down after being hit by a reversing dustcart

The 40 foot long wall came crashing down after being hit by a reversing dustcart - Credit: Archant

It was the lorry who came to tea. It was dot on 4pm after all so at least you could say it was punctual.

Jenny and Frank Poulton were just sitting in their lounge, having tea and cake with some visiting friends when there was a crash on the other side of the wall.

They weren’t expecting any more guests to arrive at their house in New Street, Great Dunmow.

Jenny said: “The noise was incredible, the whole house shook. Our friends had just arrived and we had just poured the tea when there was what sounded like an enormous clap of thunder, the height of the roof of our house.”

With plaster falling off the wall into the tea cups, the friends didn’t know what was happening. But one look outside revealed the devastation. Every single brick of a 40 foot-long wall had come crashing down.

The couple’s home is next to the Dunmow depot for Uttlesford District Council’s refuse vehicles. One of the bin lorries had just got too close for comfort. It had backed into the boundary wall between the Poulton’s home and the depot. The wall, as it reduced to rubble, had collapsed against the house.

Jenny, who has just become a grandma for the second time, said: “Thank God no-one was in the passage way at that moment. If this had happened 15 minutes earlier, my husband would have been in that part of the garden. If the wall had fallen on top of him, he would have been killed.”

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This is a problem acknowledged by Uttlesford District Council, which has already sent round its insurance assessors. The council says that the turning area for lorries is very narrow. As reported by the Broadcast in February, around £1.5million has been earmarked to move Dunmow’s depot in New Street away from the town centre.

The district council said then that money had been found to buy and develop a new plot and the project would provide a mixture of more parking places close to the town centre and residential development.

At the time, the deputy leader of UDC, Councillor Susan Barker said: “We want to move it out of the town centre, it has never been a very suitable site and I do not know why it went there in the first place.”

A spokesman for Uttlesford District Council said yesterday (Wednesday): “One of our refuse vehicles was unfortunately involved in an incident in which a residential property was damaged. We immediately contacted our building control department and a contractor was on site within half an hour to make the area safe. It is now in the hands of our insurers and we are hoping for a speedy resolution.

“We would like to thank Mr and Mrs Poulton for their understanding and patience.”