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High Street sinkhole means some businesses may have to stay shut for weeks

PUBLISHED: 17:11 26 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:11 26 May 2019

Workers getting things ready to repair the sinkhole which opened up in the High Street of Sheringham, Norfolk, on May 25. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Workers getting things ready to repair the sinkhole which opened up in the High Street of Sheringham, Norfolk, on May 25. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

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Businesses in Sheringham’s High Street are facing weeks of disruption on what is ordinarily one of the busiest periods of the year after a huge sinkhole opened up.

Terry Butler, owners of Crofters Restaurant, is one of those affected by the sinkhole which opened up in the High Street of Sheringham, Norfolk, on May 25. Picture: STUART ANDERSONTerry Butler, owners of Crofters Restaurant, is one of those affected by the sinkhole which opened up in the High Street of Sheringham, Norfolk, on May 25. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

The sinkhole, which is believed to be 6.5 metres deep and up to 20 metres wide underground, opened up in the middle of the road at around 1pm on Saturday.

No-one was injured and the area was quickly evacuated. Firefighters checked for gas, but found none, and the highways department later took over to carry out a further assessment and begin repairs.

The sinkhole is believed to have been connected to a burst water main. The road was only resurfaced earlier this year.

Part of the High Street, including the west side pavement, will have to be closed for two to three weeks for repairs, leaving some businesses unable to trade over the half-term break.

Workers getting things ready to repair the sinkhole which opened up in the High Street of Sheringham, Norfolk, on May 25. Picture: STUART ANDERSONWorkers getting things ready to repair the sinkhole which opened up in the High Street of Sheringham, Norfolk, on May 25. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

On Sunday, a team of highways workers were there in hard hats and high-vis vests while replacement piping lay around on the fenced-off street, with many holidaymakers weaving their way past on the narrow pavement opposite.

Andrew Munden, chairman of the town's chamber, said: "Anglian Water has agreed to open the east side pavement but the west side will remain shut.

"This will affect Sue Ryder, Straits, Crofters, Coopers and The All Natural Co who will have no access to the front of their premises."

Terry Butler, owner of Crofters Restaurant, said he was later told he would have to close all together for safety reasons.

Workers getting things ready to repair the sinkhole which opened up in the High Street of Sheringham, Norfolk, on May 25. Picture: STUART ANDERSONWorkers getting things ready to repair the sinkhole which opened up in the High Street of Sheringham, Norfolk, on May 25. Picture: STUART ANDERSON

Mr Butler said: "We've been told it could two or three weeks before it's fixed.

"It's the best time of the year to open so it's really bad timing.

"We were fully booked on Saturday night, and my wife was out on the street looking for customers so she could show them around to the back door."

Sheringham Town Council was upbeat, praising the community for coming together to cope with the situation.

It said: "Sheringham is very much open for business and looking forward to a busy half term. Let's hope the sun continues to shine."

The High Street is closed to all vehicles between Starlings (Chapman's Close) and Pungleperrys.

Co-Operative Street is also closed at its junction with High Street.

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