Community in fear for future of homes as sinkhole causes house to split in two

The collapsed house in Ripon. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
The collapsed house in Ripon. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A sinkhole that has opened up under a detached house has left part of the structure close to collapse and a community concerned about the future of their properties.

No one was hurt when the 25ft (7.6m) wide hole opened up beneath the 100-year-old building in Magdalen’s Close in Ripon, North Yorkshire.

But firefighters rescued a dog from the property before the whole area was sealed off amid fears that the precariously leaning side of the brick property could fall at any time.

Yesterday morning, neighbours said the 30ft (9m) high wing was still moving. Local councillor Stuart Martin said he had spoken to the family living in the house and they were “very distressed”.

Local residents said there was a long-standing problem with gypsum-related subsidence in the area which had caused other homes to collapse over the years.

Emily Moon, who lives opposite the rear of the property, said: “It’s a bit of a shock, really. It’s definitely widened since first thing this morning.

“You can’t see the hole from here – just the poor house splitting in two.”

Dr Tony Cooper of the British Geological Survey said the most susceptible area in the UK for sinkholes is the Permian gypsum deposits of north-east England, particularly around Ripon.