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Can you fill the Hellesdon hole? Hunt for contractor to end soakaway saga

PUBLISHED: 17:19 14 January 2019

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

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

Archant

The wait for a park with a 30ft deep hole in it to re-open could soon be over, with the saga's end on the horizon.

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

Mountfield Park, in Hellesdon, has been closed to the public since October, after a small but deep hole was discovered by the parish council’s groundskeeper.

Originally cordoned off, Hellesdon Parish Council later took the decision to close the park completely, after warning signs and the barriers surrounding it were stolen.

Since then, families, dog walkers and others have faced a waiting game for the park’s eventual re-opening, as council staff worked to find out not only what caused the hole, but whether there were further risks.

It was established that the hole was a former soakaway, which was put in place to keep water away from electric boxes when the park was owned by the electricity board.

Shelagh Gurney, county, district and parish councillor for Hellesdon Photo: Shelagh GurneyShelagh Gurney, county, district and parish councillor for Hellesdon Photo: Shelagh Gurney

Rather than fill the hole, the parish council instead decided to investigate whether further holes existed under the park, which could pose an equal, or greater, risk to public.

Shelagh Gurney, a district and county councillor for Hellesdon, said public safety was paramount in the decision to close the park.

She said: “We could just not risk anybody falling into the hole and seriously injuring themselves. Safety had to be our main priority.”

Mrs Gurney said it had now been established that further holes had not been discovered and that the council was in the process of appointing a contractor to fix the soakaway.

She said: “The problem we are having at the moment is finding a contractor that doesn’t have significant waiting periods to carry out the work.

“However, our hope is that the work can be done in the next few weeks and we can get the park back open.”

The small park, which is off Mountfield Avenue in the parish, does not contain any children’s play equipment, but is popular with dog walkers and provides a pedestrian cut-through to nearby B&Q.

Earlier this month, the matter was discussed at a full meeting of Hellesdon Parish Council, at which the council was criticised for the length of the park’s closure.

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