Kirkby man worried house may collapse after sinkhole opens up

A pensioner from Kirkby said he fears his house may collapse after a sinkhole opened up on his drive.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 1:21 pm
Updated Friday, 31st May 2019, 1:27 pm
Barry Brown is worried about his property after a sinkhole opened up

Barry Brown noticed the 1m-wide hole hole five weeks ago outside his bungalow on Southfields Close, Kirkby Woodhouse.

His wife, Marian, 84, noticed one of the paving slabs was loose, and upon further investigation, Mr Brown found the hole underneath the paving.

They have lived at the bungalow since 1984, and said they have never seen anything like it.

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Barry Brown is worried about his property after a sinkhole opened up

Mr Brown, 83, said: "We are seeing a solicitor, as we have been passed from pillar to post.

"Severn Trent said it was our leaking water pipes that caused the hole, but we have flushed the toilets and ran our water and we can't see any water coming from our pipes."

Mr Brown, a retired site manager, visited Ashfield District Council expecting advice, but was told they could not help as the sinkhole is on his property, and was told he would have to investigate himself.

"The council weren't interested, they told me to investigate myself.

Mr Brown says he has been passed from pillar to post

He has also contacted the Coal Authority, who also could not help, as they do not believe the sinkhole is coal related.

"I just want answers," he said.

"I want to know what's causing the hole, how far it goes, where its going to, and how to fix it, but no one seems to be able to help.

"My concern is the corner of the building could give way and then we are in major, major trouble."

Mr Brown holds up a jar of water and clay from the bottom of the sinkhole.

He said the work is likely to cost £30,000 if no-one takes responsibility.

"The sinkhole is getting closer to the property, and the paving stones in front of the garage are also coming loose - there are dips and bumps all over the front.

"It's got worse in the last three weeks.

"An engineer friend took a look at the sinkhole, and said holes need to be drilled to see if there is any more water, which alone would cost around £2,000.

Mr Brown added that a farmhouse neighbouring the property collapsed into a fissure in 1980, and he fears the same for him home.

"I just want advice," continued Mr Brown.

"I want to know who's responsible, and what I can do."

A spokesman fro Severn Trent said: "We completely understand Mr Brown’s concerns but the pipe that’s causing the problem belongs to him, as our responsibility ends at the boundary of his home.

"We’re more than happy to offer advice and to give him contact details for approved contractors but it is, ultimately, Mr Brown’s responsibility to fix it."

A spokesperson for the Coal Authority said: " We are aware of the incident at this property and inspected it on May 1 when it was found not to be coal related.

“Mining records showed that it was in an area of deep, not shallow mining, and together with an inspection by our qualified project manager, we rejected it as a coal mining related incident. "If we had believed it to be mining related we would have made the area safe and carried out investigative works.

“The Coal Authority is a non-departmental public body, which manages the effects of past coal mining in Britain, including subsidence damage claims and other coal mining legacy issues and we would never ask the public to pay for investigation work.”

Councillor Matthew Relf, cabinet member for place, planning and regeneration said “The council was contacted by Mr Brown regarding the sink hole that appeared in his driveway.

"A building control officer has been in contact with Mr Brown and advised him that he would need to contact the Coal Authority. He was provided with all the relevant information to enable him to do this.

“Although we are sympathetic of Mr Brown’s situation, there is no danger to the structure of the property and it has happened on privately owned land.

"Therefore, there is no further action to be taken by us as the local authority.”