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Norfolk park closed after discovery of 30ft hole

PUBLISHED: 10:40 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 08:00 01 November 2018

Mountfield Park in Hellesdon, which is currently closed. Picture: David Hannant

Mountfield Park in Hellesdon, which is currently closed. Picture: David Hannant

Archant

A public park has been closed amid safety fears around a 30ft-deep hole.

A sign on the gate to Mountfield Park in Hellesdon explaining its closure. Picture: David HannantA sign on the gate to Mountfield Park in Hellesdon explaining its closure. Picture: David Hannant

Hellesdon Parish Council has taken the decision to close Mountfield Park after a large hole was discovered in the park, thought to be a previously covered soakaway.

The parish council had originally cordoned off the hole, which is estimated to be some 30ft deep, after it was unearthed by the park’s groundskeeper.

However, after the barricades were stolen overnight, the council’s clerk made the decision to shut the whole park until the problem could be solved.

Mark Knight, clerk to Hellesdon Parish Council, said: “Without the fencing around the hole we could not guarantee the safety of people using the park.

Mountfield Park in Hellesdon, which is currently closed. Picture: David HannantMountfield Park in Hellesdon, which is currently closed. Picture: David Hannant

“The last thing we would want is a dog or - heaven forbid - a small child to fall into it and seriously injure themselves.”

The park, off Mountfield Avenue, is not equipped with play equipment but does provide an open space, an exercise field for dogs and a pedestrian cut-through.

The land was most recently owned by Broadland District Council, but was taken on by the parish council in the past year.

Mr Knight said contractors were looking into the hole and what has caused the sinkage around it.

Mountfield Park in Hellesdon, which is currently closed. Picture: David HannantMountfield Park in Hellesdon, which is currently closed. Picture: David Hannant

He said: “We think the hole could been a closed soakaway. The groundskeeper originally thought it was a rabbit hole but after poking at it noticed it really was rather deep.

“The park has previously been owned by both the electrical board and Anglian Water, so it is possible a soakaway was there to keep water away from electrical boxes.”

The park has been closed to the public for just over a week, but it is hoped the problem could soon be rectified.

Mr Knight added: “The park itself is quite prone to flooding anyway but it should hopefully be open again relatively soon.

“Most people living around there have been very understanding about the matter.”

The hole was originally discovered on Monday, October 22, with the decision to close to park made the following day after the theft of the fencing.

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