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A couple's £725,000 dream retirement home is being demolished just five years after it was built.
Madeline and Alastair Price, aged 70 and 69, purchased the detached property in 2018, but the Cambridgeshire home is now riddled with cracks - some metres-long - due to poorly-constructed foundations.
The couple can't even open their home’s front door because the building is so wonky.
Swelling soil has ‘lifted up’ the five-bedroom property, which is nestled in the countryside and overlooks open fields.
Insurers have ordered the house to be torn down and rebuilt as the damage is deemed too severe to repair.
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.”
She added: “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."
Madeline showed how cracks have punctuated her and husband Alastair's home, which has underfloor heating, a wine chiller, three bathrooms and a wood burner.
The couple's double garage has a two-metre-long crack inside that is around half an inch wide, while the kitchen and sitting room are also affected.
Madeline said the issue was with the house's foundations - around 1.5 to 2-metres deep - being moved by the clay soil below.
The soil is expanding due to ground heave, which is associated with the swelling of clay soils that expand when wet.
The couple claim that builders should have accounted for this when building the home, which came with a ten-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.”
She continued: "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 - who is 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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