Liverpool City Council has brokered an agreement with insurance companies for work to be carried out on a collapsed tunnel in Dingle.
Part of the Dingle Tunnel collapsed on24 July 2012, leading to the immediate evacuation of eleven properties – eight on Sundridge Street, one on Toxteth Grove and two on Dingle Grove.
The residents have been strongly advised not to return because of fears over the stability of the foundations, and the city council has been working closely with them, helping to arrange alternative accommodation where necessary.
Now an agreement has been reached with the six insurance companies who provide cover for the evacuated properties and the car repairs business based in the tunnel. The insurers have agreed to put issues of liability to one side and have agreed, without any admissions of liability, to move the situation on.
Along with the city council, they will each contribute towards structural repairs, which it is estimated will cost several hundreds of thousand of pounds. It is recognised that this will be a very complicated operation which poses many structural difficulties and, as such, it is difficult to assess the timescales involved.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Paul Brant, said: “I am pleased that we have been able to reach agreement with the insurance companies to start the process of getting repairs carried out to the tunnel.
“This is an extremely complicated issue in terms of liability, particularly as residents in three of the properties did not have insurance. However, it is one that needed to be sorted out in order to provide a degree of certainty to those who have been affected.
“We have done our very best to support the residents in the interim, and have helped them into alternative accommodation where necessary, but it is clearly very distressing when you are unable to get back in to retrieve personal possessions. We arranged a number of meetings, which I chaired, to keep residents informed of any developments. As a council, we have gone beyond our legal requirements to provide support for people in a very difficult situation.
“Hopefully the new agreement is the start of a process which will enable them to return to their homes at some point in the future.”
Matthew Rogers of Keoghs Solicitors speaking on behalf of some of the insurance companies who provide cover for the evacuated properties, said: “Insurers recognise that these were unique circumstances and have sought to proactively resolve the problems for customers despite there being no cover under the policies in force following the initial collapse. The agreement reached is as the result of a number of meetings at Liverpool City Council and the co-ordinated efforts of all insurers involved which has now paid dividends. The insurers hope that the funding agreement will ensure that all residents are able to return to their homes as soon as repairs are complete.”