'As home buyers, how can you be sure your hard-earned investment won’t simply disappear into the ground?' - Law firm talks sinkholes in Ripon

A cordon is still in place where the sinkhole opened up on Friday.
A cordon is still in place where the sinkhole opened up on Friday.

Specialist engineers were on site at Ripon leisure centre yesterday, where an area still remains cordoned off after a sinkhole appeared on Friday.

Harrogate Borough Council reported today that there has been no further movement next to the entrance, where the sinkhole opened up.

The council is now waiting to hear suggestions from the engineers about how it should be repaired or filled. Read the full story here: https://www.harrogateadvertiser.co.uk/news/latest-updates-sinkhole-opens-up-in-ripon-1-9034010
Today, the 'Gazette was contacted by Berwins Solicitors, who have put together a blog post with some advice and information about sinkholes.

As a residential property specialist at Berwins, Diane Scott writes: "Ripon has the dubious benefit of being one of a number of areas of Britain where pockets of gypsum occur quite naturally beneath the surface. Gypsum is a rock used in, ironically, the building trade as it’s a component of plasterboard but because it is a soft rock, it is easily soluble in water.

"Dissolving gypsum can have devastating effects when the holes left can no longer support the earth’s surface and that’s when a sinkhole appears.

"As home buyers, how can you be sure your hard earned investment won’t simply disappear into the ground? The short answer is that you can’t be absolutely certain but you can arm yourself with as much information as possible, especially if you’re moving to a new area of the country that you don’t know well.

"Most solicitors will carry out risk searches that look at ground stability and flooding among other things as a matter of course but if they don’t, ask them. When you get the results, read them and obtain further, more detailed reports if necessary. Because sinkholes appear as a result of dissolving rock, check the Property Information Form that the sellers should supply to see if there’s any mention of flooding having occurred – your solicitors will help you here and perhaps carry out an additional, flood risk search.

"Your ability to obtain standard buildings insurance without either the premiums or the excess being increased might be affected if flooding has occurred in the past and, if so, that may have the knock on effect of you not being able to get a mortgage.

"Whatever the outcome, at least you will know that you and your solicitors have done as much as is possible to find out what risks exist before you make your final decision to proceed with your purchase."

Read the full blog post from Berwins here: https://www.berwin.co.uk/blog/could-your-property-be-affected-by-a-sinkhole