Giant four-metre-deep sinkhole opens up in Norwich park
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
A sinkhole that appeared suddenly and is several metres deep has opened up in a park on a Norwich estate.
Police were called by members of the public over safety fears posed by the collapse in Frere Road Park.
Officers attended the grassed area surrounded by residential streets in Heartsease, on Tuesday afternoon and called in council officials.
A spokesman said: “Initial reports suggested it was about 7m deep. Highways attended to fence off the area and the council will attend today to carry out further assessments.
The hole, close to Frere Road Community Centre and in an area popular with dog walkers and local children, has now been cordoned off while experts probe the cause.
A Norwich City Council spokesman said: “The hole is currently three metres wide and four metres deep and appears to be caused after underlying chalk has eroded.
“We’re looking to appoint a contractor to start work on Friday.
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"This work will likely involve installing a concrete cap, then filling with gravel, sand, then a topsoil and this could take up to a week.
"We have shut the whole piece of land around the hole as a precaution, which due to its location should not affect use of the park.”
Local resident Sarah Hinds, who was walking her dog in the green space nearby, said: “I wouldn’t want to fall down that.
“It doesn’t look that big from a distance but when you look closely it's really deep. It’s pretty dangerous. If you fell in you’d break your leg.”
Another local, who didn’t want to be named, added: “It’s pretty scary that someone could have tumbled down it walking through here after dark and not noticing it.”
Norwich has a history of sinkholes occurring where chalk bedrock is near the surface.
After a series of similar incidents in 2019, Professor Julian Andrews, from the University of East Anglia's school of environmental science, said 'natural' sinkholes could be tens of metres across and could cause houses to collapse.
"Chalk is a type of limestone that dissolves in rainwater, the water flows into fissures in the chalk and gradually enlarges them until a hole is formed or the top of the chalk collapses,” he added.