THE DISABLED owner of a dilapidated house in Wotton-under-Edge has been given three months to repair it or face further action from the council – despite his pleas that it is impossible for him to do so.
Derrick Pegler, 68, who uses a crutch to walk, lives in only one ground floor room of his home on The Chipping as a lack of money and poor health have left him unable to keep up with maintenance.
The semi-detached home has seen part of the roof cave in, the gardens are completely overgrown and ivy is growing into the windows.
Sections of the roof are also hanging off, vegetation is starting to grow inside the building, most of the windows have been shattered and boarded up and the garden wall has collapsed.
Because the house is within a conservation area, the council can enforce the owner to keep the house maintained to reflect the character of the area.
At Stroud District Council’s (SDC) development control committee meeting at Ebley Mill on Tuesday, councillors decided to issue the notice demanding the work is carried out to make the house look more pleasing.
If Mr Pegler does not comply, the council would then look to prosecute him or fix the house themselves and send the bill to the disabled man.
Manager of Charfield Petrol Station Ruth Balloch, 28, said she could not believe somebody was living in the house after having walked past it for years.
She is determined to see if anything can be done to help Mr Pegler and has gathered a few willing volunteers to look at tidying and repairing what they can.
“As soon as I read the Gazette story I thought surely the community can get involved,” she said.
“If he is struggling and the community is so bothered about it we need to do something ourselves, Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money.
“I do not know how we got in the situation beforehand but it is sad and it s a shame he can’t get out of it. It is a difficult situation, I understand it is difficult for the council, but this would be a good solution.”
Mrs Balloch, who lives in Charfield, said they were set to meet with Mr Pegler on Friday to discuss the council’s decision and see what they could do.
SDC officers warned they did not know how much it would cost to repair the home’s external problems but they could spiral once they found out the extent of the damage.
At the meeting, Wotton Cllr June Cordwell (Lib Dem) said the state of the house not only detracted from the pleasant Chipping area but it was also a public danger.
“The house is becoming unsafe and it is detrimental to the appearance of Wotton which we’re very proud of,” she said.
“It was brought to the attention of the council many years ago. It is time something is done to remedy the situation.”
Cllr Liz Ashton (Lab, Berkeley) asked how much support the man had received and suggested that maybe he should be offered sheltered accommodation.
“People need support sometimes as well as disapproval. We need people to help others,” she said.
“They are pretty posh round there so they probably dislike this chap.”
Councillors all voted in favour of the notice, apart from Cllr Ashton who abstained.
Mr Pegler was unavailable for comment.