Couple's lavish £725,000 death trap 'dream home' to be demolished

A couple’s dream home is set to be demolished after huge cracks appeared in the walls which threaten to bring it tumbling down.

The £725,000 property was built just five years ago but is already on the verge of crumbling because the land it is built on is shifting. 

Insurers have deemed the Cambridgeshire house a death trap and ordered for it to be rebuilt entirely.

Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, can’t even open the front door of the five-bed property because of the damage.

The detached home is being ‘lifted up’ by the clay soil it is built on because it is swelling with water, a problem known as ground heave.

Madeline, a retired banker turned gardener, said: ‘It’s a nightmare really.

‘The cracks are pretty much everywhere. None of the floors or work surfaces are level.


‘Doors won’t shut – I can’t even open the front door because it’s stuck.

‘The insurance company said they can’t save it. It’s not just a building, it’s our home.’

Situated in the rural village of Wicken, the plush home has underfloor heating, a wine chiller and a wood burner.

The couple claim that builders should have accounted for this when building the home, which came with a 10-year guarantee under the Local Authority Building Control.

Madeline said: ‘The soil is bone dry with evidence that tiny tree roots are still there. It’s lifting the house up.

‘They should have known what the land was like when building the house.

‘We first noticed little cracks after a couple of years but we put it down to normal new house stuff.

‘It started in the hallway, on the staircase and in the back bedroom.

‘A structural engineer visited and said it was clay heave, which is where the soil has expanded beneath the house.’

Madeline and Alastair, also a retired banker, must move out of the house that they share with their golden retriever when the demolition notice is given.

They will be given compensation to rent a property for six months – but say they don’t know if they’ll return their home or sell it off once it’s rebuilt.

Madeline said: ‘They’re going to demolish everything and do the foundations again.

‘It could be at least two years out of the house.

‘We wanted to live in the countryside, we thought this would be our home for a few years and then we would move onto our final home.

‘We don’t know at the moment if we’ll come back. We might just put it straight on the market when it’s rebuilt.’

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