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Batman director's home in flooding row

PUBLISHED: 13:10 29 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:52 07 September 2010

Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts

Tan Parsons THE Highgate house where Batman director Christopher Nolan grew up is at the centre of a row about flooding. Now one of Hollywood s premier film directors, Mr Nolan has enjoyed meteoric success since resurrecting the Batman franchise with Chr

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 07:  ***EXCLUSIVE***  Director Christopher Nolan poses with the Favorite Movie award backstage during the 35th Annual People's Choice Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on January 7, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for PCA)

Tan Parsons

THE Highgate house where Batman director Christopher Nolan grew up is at the centre of a row about flooding.

Now one of Hollywood's premier film directors, Mr Nolan has enjoyed meteoric success since resurrecting the Batman franchise with Christian Bale in the lead role.

It was in a house in Bishops Road where he made his first film at the age of just seven, using Action Man figures. Later on, several scenes from his first commercial feature, Following, were also shot there.

But last week the basement of the house filled with water after torrential rain poured into a hole dug by contractors unblocking a drain in the road outside.

Former Channing School pupil Emma Roberts, 36, who owns the house, currently lets it to a family. She blames the workmen for the flooding which she says has damaged various household items, and may even have affected the ground under the house. These are claims disputed by R and D Contractors, the company carrying out the drain repairs.

She said: "They don't seem to be working to any plans and there was no surveyor. This house is midway down a hill and the hole that they dug filled up with water when it rained.

"We were literally wading around in the basement. We had to wear wellies to go downstairs. It was an indoor swimming pool and was pumped twice to get the water out."

Like many other houses in the street, the home was originally built on compacted sand rather than conventional foundations and the homeowner is worried about the possibility of subsidence after the flooding.

"I think the contractors have shown a reckless approach to their work and shown no consideration," said housewife Ms Roberts, who lived in West Hill Park before she moved to Gloucestershire.

A spokesman for R and D Contractors refuted Ms Roberts' claims and said any flooding is because the basement was not laid properly to make it secure against water.

He said: "As soon as Ms Roberts called us we had surveyors and structural engineers at the site within four hours. How could we do any more? And damage is covered by our insurers.

"It's not true that we didn't have surveyors and everything we have done is compliant with health and safety guidelines. There has been torrential rain and this incident was caused by the elements.

"This is the first time I have ever claimed on my insurance."

The contractors promised the hole in the road would be closed again during this week.

Another peculiarity of the house is that any couple who live there only ever seem to produce boys.

The last 16 babies born while their parents were living in the house have all been boys - including Ms Roberts' second child.


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