A woman says her life has been ruined after housing developers ripped up part of her garden causing it to flood and subside.

Amanda Tolhurst says she has been locked in a five-year dispute with Taylor Wimpey after its workers dug a trench at the bottom of her garden which destroyed Victorian-era drainage below her lawn.

The 73-year-old says she is determined to see the developer right the wrongs after the work ruined the land that was once her pride and joy.

The housing developer said it takes the issue “very seriously” but denies liability as it continues to build dozens of homes around Amanda's property.

Amanda said: “We’ve been here for 20 years and we used to wake up in the mornings and come downstairs and say ‘why would you want to go on holiday when we have this? It’s absolutely lovely'.

“Now I try not to look at it. It has been a nightmare. It has taken everything from us. We’re scraping by.

“It’s ruined our lives and sometimes I have felt like giving up.”


Amanda and her husband Mick said they agreed for Taylor Wimpey to build a fence separating their garden in Lewes Road, Uckfield, from its Ridgewood Place development of dozens of new houses.

But they said that in October 2018 a trench was dug at the bottom of their garden without their permission which "severed drainage pipes" as well as the roots to a large tree on their land.

Their surveyor, Michael Simpson, said in a report that the developer “unilaterally” excavated the trench and has since been unco-operative in the couple’s fight to have the issues fixed.

Amanda said that since then her once-perfect lawn has become prone to flooding. The land has also slowly slipped into the trench and caused her garden to fall into disrepair.

The Argus: Flooding on the lawnFlooding on the lawn (Image: Amanda Tolhurst)

An independent surveyor also ruled in favour of Amanda in the dispute, saying the decision was a breach of contract by Taylor Wimpey.

The bottom of the garden, which borders the Taylor Wimpey development, is also blighted by invasive Japanese Knotweed and stagnant water filling the trench.

Amanda is locked in a bitter border dispute with Taylor Wimpey over claims that its development encroached on her garden.

She claimed the fences erected by Taylor Wimpey cut off a corner of her land, which the developer has since built a house and garage on.

The Argus: The tree leaning towards a Taylor Wimpey show houseThe tree leaning towards a Taylor Wimpey show house (Image: Andrew Gardner | The Argus)

The people who now live in that house told The Argus that they too have suffered serious flooding in their garden due to the drainage issues since moving in 2021. They also claimed they were not told of the border dispute prior to purchasing the house.

Amanda said she “just wants to go back to having a normal life” after spending her savings fighting the dispute.

She added: “We’ve used all our savings fighting this. It’s made us really ill over the last five years.

“It’s upsetting because they have taken our land. We’ve been here for 20 years we know where our boundary is.”

A Taylor Wimpey spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the issues raised by our neighbour and one customer at Ridgewood Place and we apologise for any distress caused.

“We are taking these matters very seriously and will continue to work with the mutually appointed expert in order to reach an agreeable solution for all involved as soon as possible.”