A family man whose home was destroyed when a high-speed police chase ended in a car smashing into his living room is now being made to demolish part of the building - so that the road can finally re-open to traffic.
Almost seven months after the fatal incident in Longmeanygate, Leyland, on April 5 this year, homeowner Stuart Duffield has been told by South Ribble Council he must get the converted barn partly bulldozed to make the area safe for road users.
Mr Duffield, who lives with his partner Lindsay Cavanagh and their four children, said: “It’s taken us all of this time to negotiate a deal with the insurers and we had almost finalised everything in September, but then the council wrote to us threatening to take us to court to demolish part of the building.
“It’s really put a spanner in the works for us, and everything has come to a grinding halt now with the insurance firm.
“The council officers say they’re getting loads of complaints from people wanting the road to re-open, and I can understand that something does need doing - we want this sorted more than anybody - but piling on the pressure is not helping.”
He added: “This has been going on for seven months now, and people seem to forget that we’re the innocent victims in all of this.
“We went to bed one night and woke up with a car in our house, and our lives have just been ripped apart.
“But it seems like people think this is our fault.”
Following a meeting at his home last week with council officers, Mr Duffield agreed to demolish part of the building - including his living room and an upstairs bedroom - so that the structure can stand alone without the help of steel bars currently holding it up.
The danger of opening a lane to traffic while the prop is still there is that the building could collapse because of vibrations from the road.
“I feel like I’ve been forced to agree to these terms to be honest,” Mr Duffield admitted.
“We didn’t ask for any of this. It could happen to anybody.”
South Ribble Council’s cabinet member for strategic planning and housing, Coun Cliff Hughes, said: “We are working closely with the owner of the barn, structural engineers and Lancashire County Council to ensure that the building is structurally sound before the road can be used again.
“We have visited the site and identified what work needs to be done to make the building safe again and to remove any further dangers. With the assistance of the owner this should progress further in the coming weeks.
“This has been a complex situation to deal with and a number of parties have been involved to ensure that the road can be opened safely as soon as possible.”