A RETIRED father, who cares for his 22-year-old mentally-handicapped daughter, has won his appeal against Hyndburn Council which asked him to throw money down the drain.
Kevin Savage, 49, of Dill Hall Lane, Church, appeared before Hyndburn magistrates on behalf of himself and four neighbours who had been served a notice to pay for a replacement downspout on their row of terraced houses.
Mr Savage challenged the notice they had received on the grounds it was "very unjust" and it wasn't their responsibility to replace the missing spout.
Mr Savage said: "My neighbours are elderly and are terrified of coming to court. I am retired and my neighbours and I have limited funds and we're being asked to pay for somebody else's property when it's not our fault."
The notice was served back in September after a resident further down the terrace complained to the council about her guttering being unable to cope with the extra water from houses 292 to 300 during heavy rain.
An inspection by Alan Murray, senior environmental health officer, found that an original downspout had been removed from number 300 which added extra pressure to the downspout further down the terrace.
Mr Murray said: "I wrote a letter to the owner of number 300 in May and he responded by saying he didn't have enough money to reinstate the downspout which had been removed by the builder who had sold him the house."
The notice was issued under Section 59 of the Building Act 1984, which requires everyone who benefits from the pipe's reinstatement to contribute to the costs which were estimated to be about £200 to £300.
Mr Savage said: "I am sympathetic towards the lady who is having problems with damp but the builder who removed the pipe is the main culprit, not us."
Chairman of the magistrates, Mrs Pauline Kirk, said they upheld the appeal because the neighbours had not been responsible for the removal of the downspout and should not be responsible for its replacement.
Mrs Kirk also recommended that Hyndburn Council should help the complainant with her damp problems and as a matter of urgency try to replace the downpipe.
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Savage, who attended court with his daughter Suzanne, said: "I'm very pleased but they tried to use a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. I can't wait to tell my neighbours but I still have a lot of sympathy for the lady who complained in the first place."