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Homeowner who lives in fear that ruins of 13th century castle could collapse on his home at any time is not allowed to do anything about it

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 16/04/2018 Bridie Pearson-Jones
a man standing in front of a tree: The base of the rampart, built in 13th Century AD, are falling away and Mr Stockdale fears it could topple and not only damage his home, but potentially kill someone © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The base of the rampart, built in 13th Century AD, are falling away and Mr Stockdale fears it could topple and not only damage his home, but potentially kill someone

The base of the rampart, built in 13th Century AD, are falling away and Mr Stockdale fears it could topple and not only damage his home, but potentially kill someone

A man is living in constant fear that his house could be destroyed by the towering ruins of a crumbling castle that stand just a few feet away from his home.

Rob Stockdale, 66, has lived in the shadow of medieval Malefant Castle that forms a 40 foot tall boundary wall on his land for eight years.

The base of the rampart, built in 13th Century AD, are falling away and Mr Stockdale fears it could topple and not only damage his home, but potentially kill someone.

a man sitting on a rock next to a brick wall: Rob Stockdale, 66, has lived in the shadow of medieval Malefant Castle that forms a 40 foot tall boundary wall on his land for eight years © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Rob Stockdale, 66, has lived in the shadow of medieval Malefant Castle that forms a 40 foot tall boundary wall on his land for eight years

Rob Stockdale, 66, has lived in the shadow of medieval Malefant Castle that forms a 40 foot tall boundary wall on his land for eight years

a stone wall: The precarious remains of a Welsh castle towers over the home of Rob Stockdale in Llanmaes © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The precarious remains of a Welsh castle towers over the home of Rob Stockdale in Llanmaes

The precarious remains of a Welsh castle towers over the home of Rob Stockdale in Llanmaes

The castle wall is protected as a site of National Importance, meaning the father-of-three is struggling to get his neighbour to take action.

He wants the wall restored, and has sourced a £30,000 quote for the job, but claims the council and his neighbour, who owns the wall, are reluctant to take action.

Mr Stockdale, who lives alone in his house in Llanmaes in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, said: 'It could come down at any time.

'The ivy is digging into the walls which is helping to break it up. It's only a few feet away from my conservatory.'

The grandfather-of-three says he just wants the wall to be made safe, as he is trying to sell his home.

But he is having trouble getting any changes to the wall sanctioned - as Cadw, the Welsh Government's Historic Environment Service, has deemed the ruin a site of national importance to Wales.

a statue of a person: Rob Stockdale poses in front of the crumbling outside wall of his property, which could cost £40,000 to fix © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Rob Stockdale poses in front of the crumbling outside wall of his property, which could cost £40,000 to fix

Rob Stockdale poses in front of the crumbling outside wall of his property, which could cost £40,000 to fix

The wall, which once belonged to the De Malefant family, was given 'scheduled monument' status in May 2017, under the 1979 Ancient Monuments and Archaelogical Areas Act.

This means the site is recognised as a nationally important archaeological site and is given protection against unauthorised change.

But Mr Stockdale finds this ironic - because, to his knowledge, no-one ever visits the site.

a person in a garden: Rob Stockdale, 66, has lived in his village home for eight years, sharing his land with the medieval castle wall that stands between 30 and 40 foot tall © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Rob Stockdale, 66, has lived in his village home for eight years, sharing his land with the medieval castle wall that stands between 30 and 40 foot tall

Rob Stockdale, 66, has lived in his village home for eight years, sharing his land with the medieval castle wall that stands between 30 and 40 foot tall

He said the castle ruins belong to his neighbour, Mr David Thomas, who owns farmland on the other side of the crumbling wall - which Mr Stockdale says is only falling away on his side.

'I raised the issue with him over a year ago,' said Mr Stockdale.

'I said, 'I've got grandchildren and people visiting my house. If anybody gets hurt by a stone coming down, who do you think I'm going to sue?'

'He told me he would knock it down to eye level - but that hasn't happened yet.'

Mr Thomas explained that he had looked into the costs involved in doing work on the wall, and they were quite high.

He said: 'I had a quote which was about £40,000 to do the job. We do intend to do something. It is going to be made safe.'

Mr Thomas added that it may be a case of dealing with a few strategic stones, but that guidance from Cadw was required as to what was permissible.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has told Mr Stockdale that the work should be done.

In an email sent to him on January 30, the council conceded that the structure 'is considered to be of national importance, with potential to enhance our knowledge of medieval domestic and defensive architecture.'

a close up of a garden: The council may take out the work on the wall and later claim it back from the castle owner © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The council may take out the work on the wall and later claim it back from the castle owner

The council may take out the work on the wall and later claim it back from the castle owner

But the email continued: 'My colleague will be contacting the landowner this week to reiterate the importance of ensuring the safety of the structure.'

The council said that, in line with the Building Act 1984, they reserve the right to carry out work on the wall, and later claim the money back from Mr Thomas in Magistrates Court.

A council spokesperson has since said: 'Following a joint inspection of the structure it was 'scheduled' by Cadw in May 2017.

'As a result, consent and approval for any work can now only be given by Cadw.

'The council understands the landowner is currently in discussions with Cadw and our planning team are happy to provide any advice that will help resolve this issue to the satisfaction of everyone involved.'

a large brick building: The condition of the wall is the responsbilty of the owner - who says it may cost up to £40,000 to get it fixed © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The condition of the wall is the responsbilty of the owner - who says it may cost up to £40,000 to get it fixed

The condition of the wall is the responsbilty of the owner - who says it may cost up to £40,000 to get it fixed

A Cadw spokesperson added: 'The remains of the medieval manorial residence at Malefant Castle, Llanmaes were scheduled as a nationally important monument on May 17, 2017.

'The condition of the structure is the responsibility of the owner.

'Last year Cadw grant aided a structural survey commissioned by the owner which identified remedial works at a cost of £40,000.

'We subsequently wrote to the owner inviting him to submit a grant application to help offset the cost of the remedial work but no application was received.

'Such grants can usually cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of remedial works. Cadw is more than happy to continue to provide advice to the owner as necessary.' 

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