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‘I was about to sell this flat – then the Hemel Hempstead sinkhole happened’

Richard Phillips, 27, and his eight-year-old son, Jake. Their flat is the first floor one with the balcony.

Richard Phillips, 27, and his eight-year-old son, Jake. Their flat is the first floor one with the balcony.

 

It has got to be every homeowner’s worst nightmare.

You’re about to sell your share of the flat you live in. Then a huge sinkhole appears across the road from you and your buyer pulls out of the deal.

That’s exactly what happened to Richard Phillips, 27, who lives in Oatridge Gardens, Hemel Hempstead.

Early reports suggest that the sinkhole – which was 20 feet deep and 35 wide – may have been caused by building homes on a former clay pit.

And it won’t come as any comfort to Richard that there could be up to 50 or 60 further clay pits in the area

It has been revealed that Oatridge Gardens housing estate was built on the site of a former brickworks, and chalk may have been mined in the area

Speaking this afternoon, Richard said: “I had a seller and the estate agent rang me literally 20 minutes ago to say the bloke has pulled out.”

The sale would have put £72,000 in his pocket – but now Richard fears his and all the other properties in the street may have to be demolished.

He said: “I am really angry about it, but what can you do?”

Richard owns 40 per cent of his flat – the rest is owned by Hightown Praetorian & Churches Housing Association.

He was evacuated from his home with eight-year-old son Jake when the sinkhole appeared on Saturday.

They have now been allowed back home, but the gas supply to the estate has been cut off so they have no heating.

Richard said: “The majority of the houses here have been evacuated. It was like a ghost town last night.”

 

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