Families ban youngsters from playing outside over fears of sinkholes

Sinkholes could swallow our children! Families ban youngsters from playing outside over fears of huge craters that keep opening up in sleepy village

  • Four huge sinkholes have opened in Thorpe Hamlet, in Norwich, since January
  • Some residents have had to be re-homed due to the holes beneath their feet

Families in a small Norfolk neighbourhood are banning their children from playing outside over fears of huge sinkholes that keep emerging next to their homes.

People living in Thorpe Hamlet, a suburb to the east of Norwich City Centre, say four enormous holes have appeared in the ground since January, sparking fears for the safety of their homes, cars and even families.

The residential estate, which was built on chalky land after the Second World War, has seen heavy rainfall over winter, causing terrifying cracks and craters as deep as 8ft to emerge. 

Some have taken trees to the depths, while in other parts of the estate, buildings have began to show cracks due to the unstable ground and some damaged walls have been taken down as a precaution.  

Locals claim that the four sinkholes have all emerged since January 25 and are worsening every day with some residents even being re-homed due to the situation. 

Have you been affected by these sinkholes? Email [email protected] 

People living in Thorpe Hamlet, east of Norwich, have been left fearing for their lives after sinkholes began opening up. Pictured: A file photo of a sinkhole in Fontmell Close, St Albans in 2015

Locals claim that the four sinkholes have all emerged since January 25 and are worsening every day. Pictured: A sinkhole on the railway line between Norwich and Lowestoft after heavy rain in January 2022

The Sun reports that some frightened residents in the area have stopped their children from playing outside due to the constant fear. 

Speaking to the paper, father Shirwan Saed, 39 said that he no longer lets his son ride his bike along the crumbling roads. 

He said: ‘My six-year-old son, Ara, used to ride his bike outside, we could see him from the window and thought he was safe but now there’s a large sinkhole with a safety barrier around it and it’s getting bigger every day. 

‘It’s just too risky to let him out to play any longer.’ 

READ MORE HERE: Couple sleep in their living room for two years after sinkhole burst water main and destroyed their foundations

Other vulnerable residents even face being moved from their homes until the problems can be solved. 

Toni Yallop, 52, is disabled and lives with her husband Chris who noticed a sinkhole had swallowed a tree in their garden. 

She claims she is now facing the prospect of having to leave her home as it may be ‘subsiding.’

She said: ‘It’s a huge hole, about twenty five feet wide and eight feet deep.

‘He immediately complained to the council as we also noticed our garden gate is leaning at a strange angle and we fear the house and garden is also subsiding.’

‘The council has rehoused my neighbour from the bungalow next door and want us to leave urgently too. However, the accommodation we were offered isn’t suitable as I’m disabled.

‘I look out every day and see the tree in the sinkhole get lower and lower and my garden gradually subsiding. 

‘Will I wake up one morning to find part of my bungalow has disappeared too?’

Meanwhile, NHS worker Terri Hall, 63, has said she no longer lets her dog of the lead on their walks as she is scared he may fall into one of the craters by mistake.

She said: ‘ I’m now extremely nervous about walking Buddy, I keep him on a tight lead because you can’t be sure when another hole might open up and he’d fall in. 

‘It’s a terrible situation and requires much more to be done.’

MailOnline has approached Norwich City Council for more information.  

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