Giant sinkhole casts doubts over strength of sewer pipes

ks170917-2 Litt Sports Pothole  phot kate
The car park by the leisure centre where work is being carried out.ks170917-2 SUS-170519-202023008
ks170917-2 Litt Sports Pothole phot kate The car park by the leisure centre where work is being carried out.ks170917-2 SUS-170519-202023008

A giant sinkhole which recently appeared in a busy car park has cast doubts over the strength of our town’s sewage pipes.

On May 15, a hole several feet wide appeared in the car park next to the Littlehampton Swimming & Sports Centre, and a coach got its rear wheel stuck in it.

The Mewsbrook Park car park by the Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre being fixed after a giant pothole formed. Picture: Kate Shemilt

The Mewsbrook Park car park by the Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre being fixed after a giant pothole formed. Picture: Kate Shemilt

No-one on the coach was injured, and the vehicle was safely recovered.

The surface was swiftly repaired by Southern Water, and investigations showed it was part of the sewer which had collapsed.

It has raised questions by Arun District councillors as to whether the town’s sewer system is safe.

Councillor Dr James Walsh said: “This is a really worrying incident, as these pipes are the main ones carrying all East Arun’s sewage to and from the pumping station.

The Mewsbrook Park car park by the Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre being fixed after a giant pothole formed. Picture: Kate Shemilt

The Mewsbrook Park car park by the Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre being fixed after a giant pothole formed. Picture: Kate Shemilt

“My concern is if one has gone, are the others on this site safe for residents and swim centre users.

“It is vital that Southern Water urgently survey all the pipes on this site, laid only in the 70s, to ensure that they are safe.”

In response to Dr Walsh’s concerns, Southern Water said: “As soon as we became aware that a hole had appeared near to Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre, our team were on site to investigate.

“We have maintained wastewater services to our customers in the area while initial repair work was carried out.

The Mewsbrook Park car park by the Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre being fixed after a giant pothole formed. Picture: Kate Shemilt

The Mewsbrook Park car park by the Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre being fixed after a giant pothole formed. Picture: Kate Shemilt

“This was completed over the weekend and we are now working on a plan for the long term fix.

“We are continuing to work with our colleagues at Arun District Council and would like to thank them for their support and cooperation in minimising any disruption stemming from this matter.

“Detailed surveys are being carried out to other parts of the sewer to see if any there are any further actions we may need to take.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience and thank our customers in the area for their patience.”