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Sinkholes appear close to housing developments in Barming near Maidstone

Sinkholes which have opened up close to homes are being investigated.

The ground has collaped near to Hermitage Lane in Barming and the incident is causing a knock-on effect to water supply to properties in the area.

Sinkholes appeared in Barming near Maidstone at the weekend
Sinkholes appeared in Barming near Maidstone at the weekend

A letter delivered to nearby houses says the issue, which started on Friday and worsened yesterday, is related to drinking water storage tanks in Hermitage Lane. South East Water says as a result people living in the area may notice discolouration to their water while the problems are assessed.

Douglas Whitfield, South East Water operations director, said: "In the early hours of Friday morning we were alerted to the appearance of a sinkhole on the site of our drinking water storage reservoir in Hermitage Lane.

"Drinking water storage reservoirs hold treated water for a short period of time before it is pumped to customer taps.

"Safety is our number one priority and following the appearance of further sinkholes on the site on Saturday we have switched off the storage reservoir while investigations and surveys with specialists are undertaken.

"To keep customers’ taps flowing we have successfully changed the way water flows through our network of underground pipes in the town.

Workers investigate the sinkholes with have opened up in close to Hermitage Lane in Barming near Maidstone
Workers investigate the sinkholes with have opened up in close to Hermitage Lane in Barming near Maidstone

"This is a very complex, fast moving situation and are therefore liaising closely with the local authorities as well as working with specialist contractors to continue making the site safe, survey the ground and understand what happened."

A police spokesman said: "On the afternoon of Saturday, September 26, Kent Police was notified of a sinkhole off Hermitage Lane, Maidstone. Officers are assisting teams from South East Water and Maidstone Borough Council."

Residents who notice any significant structural changes are urged to call police on 999.

It is not the first time that Barming has suffered from this type of collapse. In May 2018, a sinkhole opened up on the A26 Tonbridge Road in Barming, forcing 10 nearby homes to be evacuated as a precaution.

It took workers more than 8,000 hours over a period of five months to repair the damage, which caused disruption for residents and lost revenue for nearby businesses.

Watch: Relief for Barming residents and restaurant as road reopens

That collapse came only a short while after a sinkhole caused deep cracks in the road and a driveway to break up when the ground collapses at edge of a field off Broomshaw Road.

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

The ongoing issue with sinkholes in the Barming area has been raised by homeowners who are opposed to further housing developments on land in the area near to Hermitage Lane.

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 the plans of house-building giant Taylor Wimpey.

Emergency water workers have also been in Folkestone today after a burst main caused a small part of a street to flood .

Residents have been offered bottled water while repairs are carried out.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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