June 17, 2022 6.00 pm This story is over 24 months old

Nightmare three-year persistent sinkhole, as Anglian Water denies new sewer collapse

Some residents feel “let down”

Residents in Holbeach are living a “nightmare” for three years, as repairs to a sinkhole have been ongoing since 2019, yet Anglian Water denied issues with the pipeline caused complications in their works.

Sources close to the situation explained that Anglian Water’s current attempts to reline the sewers within the Boston Road South sinkhole reportedly failed, with some suggestions a new pipe had already sheared within a short time of being replaced.

Neighbours reported that engineers had been on site until at least 9pm on Wednesday night, longer than they have in the past three years.

The sink hole repairs on Boston Road South have been going on for a number of years. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Yet Anglian Water said there had been “no issues” with the pipe itself, but added that relining was a “complicated process”.

“Our teams are continuing to work in Boston Road South to reline the sewer to ensure it continues to provide a resilient infrastructure to the local residents,” said a spokesperson.

“We have no issues with the pipe itself, the relining is a complicated process and will take time to complete, this work is proactive maintenance work and not as a result of any sewer collapse.”

They also told reporters that camera surveys had previously shown the sewer was “in good condition” and that the “proactive work” would build the sewers resilience.

They noted they had timed the work to coincide with Lincolnshire County Council Highway’s own investigations and works in order to minimise disruption.

Anglian Water are carrying out relining works to the pipeline. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Those living nearby have been subject to roadworks since 2019 and a number have described the last few years as a “nightmare” and “farcical”. Despite several repair attempts the road continues to cause issues.

Ken Coates, whose property fronts onto the works, said: “It’s a nightmare, it’s a complete nightmare. I blew my top at them on Monday.”

His property’s drain is slightly higher than others and when the pipe was blasted it blew out his toilet, causing a number of issues.

Anglian Water paid for the replacement of the toilet afterwards, but Mr Coates said issues had persisted, often resulting in a “smell of sewerage” around his property.

Ken Coates said the works had been a “nightmare”. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Other neighbours saw their electricity cut out for a week at one point and had to have noisy generators installed outside their house for several days.

When it first began in 2019, the problems were further up the road but have slowly moved down.

When the road was first closed off, neighbour Anna found vehicles were still trying to get by using the pavement outside her house. Her son-in-law was nearly hit by a motorbike while staying at her house.

“It’s farcical,” she said. “We were told by the local councillor that highways were injecting some sort of heavy duty foam or something and… two days after the sewers were blocked and they had to dig it up again.

“They must have spent a lot of money on it, where if they had done it properly to start with, it would have been cheaper for them.”

Residents said more drainage works appeared to be taking place than they usually noticed on Thursday. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Some, however, were not as perturbed, with one neighbour who did not wish to be named telling reporters that they felt it was actually quieter.

It’s not just Boston Road residents that feel let down either, as despite road closed signs further up, HGVs and parents on the school run are using Cecil Pywell Avenue and Chestnut Avenue as diversions.

John Hall lives on Cecil Pywell Avenue and said the road was “not built for the traffic it’s getting”.

“We said this morning it would be nice to get our road back. We’ve seen four HGVs so far today,” he said.

John said parents parking along the road during school rush hour were causing traffic issues, while HGVs were using the pavement to get past when traffic was tight.

The area is mainly sheltered housing for elderly residents.

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, added: “Some [elderly residents] can’t see very well or can’t hear very well. It’s quite frightening for them to try to cross the road.”

Although fairly quiet at around midday on Thursday, residents reported that during the school rush hour traffic was “hell”. | Image: Daniel Jaines

One resident on Chestnut Avenue said those living on the road had been “badly let down”.

They, along with others, noted that there was a school either side of the road and more houses were being built nearby causing further issues from the amount of vehicles passing through.

However, they also acknowledged that alternative routes were limited.

Another resident, Linden Seeker, told reporters: “It’s been hell to be honest.”

He said: “It’s not bad for speeding, it’s just the volume of traffic, all at school times. At school time I don’t come home any more, I stay at work for another hour.

“If you get a couple of cars parked at the side of the road it can block it pretty badly.”

Drivers are reportedly ignoring road closed signs and taking diversion routes around tighter residential streets. | Image: Daniel Jaines

Lincolnshire County Council has been approached for comment and, while it had not addressed residents’ concerns at the time of publication, a spokesperson said the authority was working with partners to get the works completed as soon as possible.

“We are currently waiting for Anglian Water to conclude its sewer lining works before we can put in a programme of works to get the road open again,” they said.

“We have carried out investigations into the geology of the land in the area and found it is a unique mix of sand and substrates which can cause land to move.

“Recent developments in the ongoing sewer lining have moved so yes, this will have an effect on any dates planned so far because we have to wait until the sewer lining works are concluded before we can start the road rebuild.”