Concern as sinkhole grows on UK property

A huge sinkhole has opened up beneath a driveway just yards from a house - and appears to be growing.

What began as a small depression underneath the front tyre of the homeowner's car is now a chasm measuring about 10ft across and 12ft deep.

Since Sunday, it has consumed part of the front wall, garden slabs and a good part of the drive itself - leaving the car now teetering on the brink.

On the advice of the council, the owner has moved out and is now staying with her daughter, according to neighbours, while investigations take place into its cause.

One explanation could be the old mine workings which dot this corner of the West Midlands.

Glenys Murphy, a neighbour, said: "The mines mean that everything around here is like a honeycomb.

"They got a sinkhole up at the church.

"Personally, I'm not worried, because I know they built my house on the coal dump."

Turning to look at the hole, she said: "It's going to take some filling."

Another neighbour said there had always been sinkholes in the area, with one swallowing a tree in the same street some decades ago,

The depression, in Churchfields Road, Wednesbury, has become something of a local tourist attraction - with drivers pulling up with their phones out to take photographs.

An elderly couple who live in the next road, and had come along to see the void for themselves, described it as "worrying".

The Coal Authority was informed about the hole on Monday and has now begun monitoring and an investigation.

Sandwell Council has been able to put up barriers and safely secure the site.

But as the opening is on private land, dealing with the hole will be a matter for the homeowner and their insurers.

Meanwhile, only time will tell if and when the sinkhole will stop growing.

A Coal Authority spokeswoman said: "Our regional team responded quickly to secure the site and we are working with the relevant agencies to determine the cause of the collapse."


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