Sheringham High Street sinkhole repairs may take all summer

Image caption The hole in Sheringham High Street, Norfolk, has meant restrictive access to some shops and restaurants

Businesses in a seaside town have been told repairs to a sinkhole could last the whole summer season.

An 8m (26ft) deep hole opened up in Sheringham High Street on 25 May making access to many restaurants difficult, with two shutting.

Anglian Water said it would have a clearer idea of how long it would take to repair the hole after excavation work is completed in a few days' time.

Some traders claim their turnover has been affected by the road closure.

A water company spokeswoman said any shop owners who had been told the work would take up to 16 weeks had probably been given an "estimate by the guys on the ground".

The spokeswoman added she could not give a "definitive timeline" until engineers had excavated the hole safely, beginning on Tuesday.

Anglian Water said a loss adjuster would be looking at ways of supporting local businesses claim insurance.

Image caption One trader tries a tongue-in-cheek attempt to lure customers

Tracey Bailey of Pungleperry's Coffee Shop said: "We're worried for our business and finances", adding the noise levels were sometimes too loud "to think" on some days.

About 70 tonnes of gravel have been used to fill the sinkhole to make it safe while it is surveyed and before any repairs can be carried out to pipes.

The hole has also been reinforced with piling and metal sheets.

Image caption The hole has had to be reinforced before further excavations can begin

North Norfolk District Council said the town remained "open for business" to shoppers and pedestrians.

Deputy mayor Liz Withington said there had been "lots of rumours" about the cause of the hole but urged people to wait for the excavation report.

A council meeting with businesses will be held on Wednesday with the water company attending.

Image copyright Liz Withington
Image caption Anglian Water said it could not estimate when the hole would be repaired

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