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Newtown bypass: Homeowner prepared for 'full on war' as construction moves yards from his house

By Jonny Drury | Newtown | News | Published:

A family today described how they feel under siege from a new bypass as their three-year battle for compensation continues.

Robert Roberts with his daughters Kelly and Emma and the sign he has put up protesting at the compensation being offered

It has been a long road for Robert Roberts and his family, whose house is in the line of the long-awaited construction of the Newtown bypass.

Mr Roberts has always remained adamant the compensation money offered for his house by the government is well below the value he has been quoted by a local estate agent.

Since construction began last year workers and diggers have moved ever closer to his home and are now just 40 yards from his front door with work going on all around his property.

A deal hasn’t been reached with the Welsh Government and Mr Roberts has firmly dug his heels in again, claiming he has his human rights and will not be moved until he gets a fair deal.

As workers move closer, he claims cracks have appeared in his home, window frames have become loose and he is now suffering with health problems.

Mr Robert said: “They’ve dug all around us now and are about 40 yards from the front door. It is destroying my home and we still just want the fair price for it.

“They are so close now that machinery vibrations have caused significant cracks in the ceiling and on the walls, and window frames are coming loose.

“My children are frightened.

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“The cracks came a few months ago and a surveyor has said that the damage is not significant at all, but it is.

“I am just sick and tired of it all, I’ve been to the doctors as it is affecting my health.

“I’m stressed and worried, and I’m just exhausted but I will not give in.”

Other land and home owners along the route have also long expressed concerns regarding the construction.

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Last week Ukip assembly member for Mid and West Wales Neil Hamilton met with Newtown County Councillor Joy Jones and landowners. He has pledged to go back to the Welsh Assembly and help the landowners with their problems.

Councillor Jones said no one is against the bypass but insists Mr Roberts is entitled to the value of his home, just like everyone else.

She added: “I must stress the landowners aren’t trying to stop the bypass because they know how crucial it is to Newtown, but they wanted to be treated fairly and with respect.”

“Everyone knows about Mr Roberts’ story, he is entitled to the full value of his property just like everyone else.

“He is essential having to make another life and is distressed about losing his land.

“We’re pleased Neil has come and met with landowners, taken on board what has been said and pledged to help.”

Mr Roberts has many other gripes about the current situation and is monitoring the ground outside his house daily as construction moves closer.

He has already said he will have to be arrested if they want to move him, and said he is prepared for ‘full on war’ if he has to.

He added: “I’ve been charged the same council tax despite my home being blighted.

“Meetings with the Welsh Government have come to nothing, yet other people have been paid the fair price for their house, it is wrong.

“If they don’t pay me and want to move me, they will have to arrest me.

“We’ve protested and chained ourself to diggers before and we will do it again.

“I’m prepared for full on war this time, going all the way.”

The Welsh Government says it has met with Mr Roberts numerous times to resolve matters and said the valuation is being negotiated by property consultants.

A spokesman said: “The valuation of this property is being negotiated with Davis Meade Property Consultants who provide comparable evidence to support their valuations.

“We would expect their valuation to be based on actual market transactions closely relating to the property, rather than a price set by an estate agent.”

“Welsh Government officials and the district valuer have met Mr Roberts and his agent several times in an effort to move matters forward and officials have again written advising of the options available and the evidence that should be provided to make progress.”

“Our primary focus continues to be ensuring appropriate value for the homeowner and taxpayer, with negotiations between the district valuer services and the property owner’s agent being central to securing fair compensation.”

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Senior reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales.

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