Residents in Ripon were shocked when a huge hole appeared in their back garden earlier this month.
The colossal pit, measuring 20m by 10m, suddenly appeared at the back of a property on Magdalen’s Road in the quiet North Yorkshire market town on Wednesday (November 9th). Now, an emergency response planning team has been called in to discuss how to deal with the five-metre deep crevice.
Ian Spiers, emergency planning manager for Harrogate Borough Council, said Yorkshire Water was considering how to reopen the sewers to enable residents of the 12 homes that have been evacuated to return to their houses.
Speaking with the BBC, he said: “The little private road at the back of the properties isn’t suitable for heavy vehicles, so Yorkshire Water is looking at alternative ways of getting to reopen the sewer so some of the residents can get back home.”
It is thought the giant sinkhole occurred because the geology of the area consists of marls, limestone and gypsum. According to the British Geological Survey (BGS), as groundwater flows into the gypsum, it starts to dissolve, forming cave systems.
Further cracks began to appear after the collapse, which means the road is still at risk from further sinkholes.
Mr Spiers added that the BGS has told the council to monitor the hole while emergency planners decide how to handle the problem, stating: “At this stage, I don’t think we can do anything to stabilise the site.”
Due to the elements found here, previous dips have occurred in the area, with one as recent as 2014 when an eight-metre wide sinkhole appeared in a street nearby.