Beds, Herts & Bucks

St Albans sinkhole: Council costs top £600,000

'Sinkhole' on Fontmell Close, St Albans Image copyright Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption The 33ft (10m) deep sinkhole opened up six months ago in October

A giant sinkhole in St Albans has cost councils more than £600,000 to deal with.

The 33ft (10m) deep hole appeared in Fontmell Close, a former clay pit site, on 1 October last year.

Ground surveys on the area are nearly complete but five households are still unable to return to their homes and are living in temporary accommodation.

The collapse has cost St Albans City & District Council £200,000 and Hertfordshire County Council £400,000.

Both authorities are in talks with the government about getting the costs reimbursed.

On the day the hole opened up, the five nearest homes were evacuated and 20 people were taken to a centre set up at the nearby Batchwood Sports Centre.

Temporary accommodation for the householders was being paid for by insurers, St Albans council said.

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The authority also said the results of surveys on Fontmell Close and nearby Bridle Close would be analysed before more work was done.

"We were presented with a formidable challenge in trying to return the area to normal," said councillor Beric Read.

"It has been a fantastic effort. It will continue until all utilities have been reconnected and the road fully repaired and the families are back in their homes."

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