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Ground collapses in Angelica Square, Barming, near Hermitage Lane

Another hole in the ground has appeared in Barming.

Work is under way to rectify the problem in Angelica Square after it opened up on Thursday.

A hole has appeared in Angelica Square, near Hermitage Lane, Barming
A hole has appeared in Angelica Square, near Hermitage Lane, Barming

The void appeared on a housing estate in Hermitage Lane – the third to appear in the area in as many months.

Workers from BT Environmental and Thanet Drainage are working to fix it.

It is understood, although it hasn't been confirmed, that a backlog of sewage was found – which has now been rectified – but it is too early to tell if it is a sinkhole.

This isn't the first case of the ground disappearing in Barming.

A hole appeared last month in the Orchard Fields area in Hermitage Lane, opposite Maidstone Hospital
A hole appeared last month in the Orchard Fields area in Hermitage Lane, opposite Maidstone Hospital

Around this time last month, a sinkhole appeared in the Orchard Fields housing development on the other side of Hermitage Lane.

People who paid close to £400,000 to move into the new homes developed by Bovis Homes described feeling scared at seeing yet another sinkhole swallowing the ground close to their estate.

As well as this, an investigation was launched in September after multiple sinkholes appeared at South East Water's drinking water storage reservoir, also in Hermitage Lane.

The ongoing issue with sinkholes in the area has been raised by homeowners who are opposed to further housing developments.

Opponents of plans for 187 new homes on one of the last green spaces left in the neighbourhood, the pea fields, have warned of the risk of sinkholes in their objections to proposals by house-building giant Taylor Wimpey.

A sinkhole opened up on the A26 Tonbridge Road, outside the Taj Barming restaurant at the junction of the A26 and Fountain Lane in 2018. Picture: Andy Payton
A sinkhole opened up on the A26 Tonbridge Road, outside the Taj Barming restaurant at the junction of the A26 and Fountain Lane in 2018. Picture: Andy Payton

In May 2018, workers spent nearly 8,000 hours fixing a giant sinkhole which opened up in Tonbridge Road forcing 10 homes to be evacuated.

It caused disruption for residents, and nearby businesses lost revenue.

In July 2019 a hole appeared in Upper Fant Road, not far from the repaired stretch of Tonbridge Road.

Kelly Robinson, the County Customer Manager at Southern Water said: “Private contractors were called to investigate a depression in the carpark of the flats, upon excavating they found that their private sewer connecting the flats to the main sewer was collapsed and had been leaking into the ground for an unknown period of time, washing away the subsoil.

“OnSaturday the Southern Water main sewer became blocked with wet wipes and other unflushables. On attendance the blockage was cleared, While the main sewer was blocked the break in the private sewer allowed the sewer to flood into the pre-existing sink hole/excavation.”

Thanet Drainage has been contacted for comment.

The latest appearances have prompted those who remember sinkholes from as far back as the 60s to reminisce on the havoc they caused even back then.

Peter Topley, 67, who now lives in the Royal British Legion Village in Aylesford but grew up in Barming Heath, said sinkholes in the 60s they were a regular source of entertainment for kids exploring the area.

Kevin Best, also 67, who now lives in Maidstone town centre remembers the holes making regular appearances when he lived in Cherry Orchard Way in the 90s.

One of the most memorable sinkholes for Mr Best is one that opened in at the crossroad junction of Hermitage Lane, Heath Road and St Andrews Road in September, 1994.

The void which became the talk of the town was just metres from where the more recent sinkhole appeared in front of the Taj Barming restaurant in Tonbridge Road.

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