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Another sinkhole appears off Hermitage Lane in Barming, near Maidstone


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Yet another hole has appeared in Barming - prompting fresh fears for the very ground on which new houses are due to be built.

The latest subterranean soil sinkage - roughly 8ft across and 6ft deep - has occurred just off Hermitage Lane in the Maidstone suburb, just yards from an even larger collapse which previously appeared.

The latest sinkhole in Barming has appeared close to an even larger previous collapse
The latest sinkhole in Barming has appeared close to an even larger previous collapse

Down through the years sinkholes have developed regularly in the area, but this year it has seemed as though barely a month goes by without another patch of land giving way.

In September holes appeared close to water storage tanks off Hermitage Lane, then in October another void appeared on a grassy patch at the Bovis Homes Orchard Fields development, before last month another hole appeared in Angelica Square.

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

Deborah Malthouse, who is a member of a group Give Peas A Chance which is campaigning against further housebuilding on Barming's pea fields, said she was "horrified" when she heard about the latest hole to appear.

"At this rate they are all going to join up," she said of the multiple voids to have opened up in recent months.

Give Peas A Chance committee member Deborah Malthouse says development in Barming should be halted
Give Peas A Chance committee member Deborah Malthouse says development in Barming should be halted

"Housebuilding should be paused. If Maidstone Borough Council give approval to go ahead it will just be crazy, when you have all these sinkholes appearing.

"Surely all development should be halted? Tracey Crouch and Helen Grant have both said 'please can development be stopped' and this be researched."

With more homes planned for the neighbourhood, Ms Malthouse questioned how potential buyers could have any confidence in their investment.

"Why would people buy houses in these developments," she asked. "They can't have faith in the ground underneath their homes.

"It's not a one-off, it's happening more and more."

Reacting to the news of the latest sinkhole, Ms Crouch said: "It is clear that there are land stability issues around this area, making plans for huge housing developments in Aylesford, Barming and Ditton even more worrying."

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