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Sinkhole opens at Maidstone Hospital's Acute Assessment Unit in Hermitage Lane


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A sinkhole has opened outside a newly built assessment centre at Maidstone Hospital.

It's believed the void appeared around two weeks ago on the road just outside the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU) in Hermitage Lane.

The area has been cordoned off while teams investigate
The area has been cordoned off while teams investigate

A spokesperson for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said: “An area outside the AAU at Maidstone Hospital has been cordoned off while experts examine a possible sinkhole.

"A small number of patients within the unit have been moved to other areas of the hospital, but the AAU is running as normal and temporary traffic lights are in place to divert traffic from the area.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”

The latest void is just yards away from a sinkhole that appeared on the other side of Hermitage Lane in October that is currently being filled in.

The grassy patch gave way on the Orchard Fields site developed by Bovis Homes prompting concerns from residents who recently purchased their homes.

A sinkhole has opened outside the Acute Medical Unit
A sinkhole has opened outside the Acute Medical Unit
The latest sinkholes in Barming. Picture: Google Earth
The latest sinkholes in Barming. Picture: Google Earth

Barming has seen a number of voids appear in recent years, most notably on the A26 Tonbridge Road, which caused months of disruption to residents and businesses in 2018.

More recently, in September holes appeared close to water storage tanks off Hermitage Lane, another appeared in Angelica Square in November and another opened just metres away from the already gaping hole on the Bovis site in December.

Some even remember the nuisance voids causing trouble as far back as the 60s.

The regular collapses led local MPs Helen Grant and Tracey Crouch to jointly call for a halt to housebuilding around Hermitage Lane.

In response to the latest void, Helen Grant for Maidstone and the Weald, said: "This latest sinkhole on the grounds of Maidstone Hospital is hugely concerning and is, of course, part of a worrying trend of deeply disruptive sinkholes across the Barming area in recent years.

The cleared site before it was built
The cleared site before it was built

"I am assured that the hospital management have this particular situation under control and it is not causing disruption to patient services at the hospital.

"However, we urgently need our local authorities to take action to address the issue of sinkholes on and around Hermitage Lane, including undertaking proper, independent geological surveys for any planned developments in the area.

"That is why, alongside Tracey Crouch, I convened and Chaired a multi-agency meeting to discuss the issue of sinkholes earlier this year.

"We were joined by a range of organisations including Maidstone Borough Council, Kent County Council and the Environment Agency.

"A list of action points were agreed and the group will meet again to assess progress against these in the early summer."

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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