An elderly couple have been left exposed to the elements for eight months after the building next door was demolished.
Sunset Hotel owners Malcolm and Jacqui Lobban spent the beginning of the year huddled under umbrellas in the front room of their Banks Street home after the building next door was demolished to make way for flats, leaving just a three-inch thick inner wall between them and the outdoors.
Planning documents show Blackpool Council gave permission for property owner Ijaz Rayaz to build the flats on Banks Street with the help of Keystone Design Associates Ltd, with work commencing in November 2016.
The demolition of the property left the Sunset Hotel’s fragile inner wall exposed – and Malcolm, 72, says the damage caused to his home as a result has cost him around £10,000. He said: “It’s only a three or four-inch thick inner wall that should have been protected from day one.
“I have got doors at bad angles because the wall is leaning to one side.
“All it takes is one faulty brick and it could collapse around us.”
We have not taken any guests this year because of the state of the outside. It makes the place look filthy
The original building, at the end of Banks Street, was demolished after it was deemed to be beyond repair due to storm damage.
Blackpool Council say a notice was served to the owner to weatherproof the property, however, grandparents-of-eight Malcolm and Jacqui believe this was not carried out.
The site is now under review by the council, and builders were advised to make improvements to the wall.
A spokesman said: “Engineers were on site last week to reassess the existing exposed building and officers advised that a structural slab is required to carry the wall for additional support.”
Malcolm, who has run the Sunset Hotel with his wife for 30 years, said: “Our business is suffering. Our guests are going to come and the first thing they see is a huge pile of rubble. It has caused a tremendous amount of damage.
“Once upon a time we were a four-star establishment. There’s little chance of that happening again.
“My wife is in the middle of a nervous breakdown. She’s losing her hair from the stress.”
He added that water company United Utilities could not carry out necessary work on the sewage pipes behind his house as they believed any drilling could cause the wall to collapse.
Jacqui, 70, said: “It has been a nightmare from start to finish.
“One night in January we were sitting in our living room under umbrellas to keep the wind off us.
“The wall has cracks all over the place and it’s moving slowly. We’ve had water running down the living room wall and a couple of the walls upstairs.
“We have not taken any guests this year because of the state of the outside. It makes the place look filthy.
“I always considered myself a strong person but it’s breaking me down.
“It’ll all be over one way or another. We’ll either follow the wall into the Irish Sea, or it’ll be fixed.”
Mr Rayaz could not be reached. Keystone Designs were approached but declined to comment.