Mayor of Ripon "heartbroken" for residents left homeless after giant sinkhole appears

Aerial shot of the affected homes - credit Kurnia Aerial Photo
Aerial shot of the affected homes - credit Kurnia Aerial Photo

The Mayor of Ripon has expressed his sympathy for families unable to reclaim their belongings after a giant sinkhole forced them to evacuate their homes.

A 66ft appeared in two gardens on Magdalen's Road at around 10.30pm on Wednesday with 13 homes now evacuated by fire crews.

Families were forced to find alternative accommodation for the night and have been warned it could take months before they're able to return to their homes.

The Mayor of Ripon, Coun Adrian Morgan, has spoken to residents forced to evacuate and said he was "heartbroken" to see families lose their homes.

He said: "I've had a look at the hole and you can drop a double decker bus into it. I'm just thankful that nobody has been injured.

"I've spoken with some of the residents and it's heartbreaking. Some of them can't get back into their homes because the sinkhole is still active.

"The people I've spoken to are quite elderly and it's much harder for them to handle shocks like this.

"It's sad that some parts of Ripon has been built on these gypsum faults and I feel so sorry for the residents. It must have been a terrible shock for them late last night."

Coun Morgan revealed that cracks are still appearing yards away from the homes with the safety margins areas still increasing.

The cause of the sinkhole, which is estimated to be around 30ft deep, is still unknown but geological surveyors are due to visit the site tomorrow.

A rest centre was opened at Ripon fire station last night and all the evacuated residents have now found alternative accommodation for tonight.

Morrison's have stepped in to help those evacuated by offering free meals to any residents on Magdalen's Road.

Ripon is prone to sinkhole activity with this incident close to where another sinkhole opened up beneath a 100-year-old building in Magdalen's Close in 2014.

Coun Morgan said that due to the dissolving gypsum underneath the town it would be impossible to predict when the next sinkhole could appear.

He said: " I can't see how you can reduce the risk, if there are aquifers underneath parts of the town then you can't stop this.

"It's almost impossible to anticipate this but it's an awful way for people to be living in the east side of the city.

"We have as a council tried to deter developers on that part of Ripon but there is plenty of room on the west side of the city when the army camps become available.

"We have not had the chance to speak to other members of the council but we will have to have a meeting and make a decision on how we can help these people."