St Albans sinkhole expected to take ‘weeks’ to fix: Herts county council
- Credit: Photo provided
A press statement has just been released by Herts county council, updating the media on the large sinkhole which opened up in Fontmell Close, a cul de sac in St Albans, early this morning.
It says that the authority’s resilience team and Fire and Rescue Service were called at 1.30am and have been working with Herts Police and St Albans district council to resolve the problem.
The hole currently measures around 20m by 20m by 10m deep - until now there have been conflicting reports of its width and depth, because it was regarded as too dangerous to approach earlier today.
Five households, with 20 people in total, were evacuated at 3.15am to a reception centre for residents at Batchwood Sports Centre.
Cllr Richard Thake, the county cabinet member for community safety, said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety of residents in the area and minimise disruption and to resolve the situation as soon as possible.”
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He said that specialist highways engineers were quickly on the scene assessing the situation.
All utility services have also been on site, along with the Red Cross.
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As a consequence, gas, electricity and water supplies have been cut off to 52 properties, as nearby Bridle Close, which runs off Fontmell Close, has also been affected.
Cllr Thake said: “Hertfordshire has great partnerships and our resilience arrangements mean we can respond to these types of situations quickly and efficiently.”
He said the authority was told about a hole in the footpath last week, and it was inspected and barriers put around it last Wednesday (23), with work scheduled to fill it in this morning (Thursday).
Cllr Thake said that following the inspection, there was no reason to suspect that the hole would collapse to such an extent.
He said that holes of this kind crop up across Herts, often for “historic reasons and we’d like to reassure the public that it is rare for them to turn into large holes.
“No-one has been injured and no house has been damaged.”
It is expected that a ‘return to normal’ is likely to take weeks – in the meantime agencies are working together to support families affected.