Council denies Linslade sinkhole stems from them ignoring concerns about defects in road

Claims that ignoring defects in New Road, Linslade have culminated in this week’s discovery of a sinkhole have been rejected by Central Beds Council.

Friday, 8th March 2019, 9:23 am
Updated Friday, 8th March 2019, 9:45 am

The 24sq ft void – approximately 8ft deep – was spotted by a member of the public on Wednesday afternoon and led to the road being closed. Investigations by Central Beds Council and Anglian Water remain ongoing today.

It prompted numerous residents, including town councillor Mark Freeman, to point the finger at Central Beds Council, claiming there had been concerns over a big dip that had appeared in New Road months ago.

The void in New Road, Linslade. Photo: Leighton Buzzard Community Policing Team

But a council spokesman said: “During 2018 we received just one report about a minor depression on New Road. At the time of our inspection, it did not need action. We have not received any further reports of problems until now.

“New Road is inspected for issues every six months. All of our roads are inspected based on their classification and levels of use, with the busier major roads and town centre pavements inspected more frequently.”

Paul Brown, of Leighton Buzzard & District Archaeological & Historical Society, also said he had noticed a problem with the road in recent times.

He said: “I live not far away and noticed the road was closed and guessed why. Over the last few months there has been a hollow in the road.

“At first there was water coming out even in dry periods and more recently the hollow has remained but been dry. I knew it was only a matter of time before the road surface collapsed.

“I have seen too many water main bursts in my time not to know that there was water flowing underneath washing away the soil. For my own safety I avoided driving over it.

“There is a possibility it is not a water main but one of the many streams that was culverted when old Linslade was built that has got blocked and washed away the soil, but most likely it’s an old water main. They would be about 100 years old in this street and cast iron.”

He said he hadn’t contacted Anglian Water about his fears over the road because about six weeks ago he had noticed one of their engineers inspecting the hollow and reasoned that someone else had reported it.

“I was surprised that no action was taken but now perhaps there will be. I guess the road will now be closed for weeks while they sort it out.”