RESIDENTS have said their lives have been "ruined" by a giant sinkhole that has closed the only road into their estate for over two years.
Deliveries refuse to turn up, emergency service vehicles can't gain access and 50 residents are left competing for one of five parking spots due to the pit on Boatman Drive, in Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent.
Locals have been left in limbo as Stoke-on-Trent City Council, developers Redrow and water company Severn Trent remain locked in a dispute regarding the four-foot dip.
Homeowners have to park their vehicles on the main road and walk at least five minutes to their front doors – meaning their drives and garages are now redundant.
Sridhar Madadi says he has been unable to sell his home due to the unresolved sinkhole and lives in fear of a serious incident.
The 48-year-old, of Waterlily Close, said: "I'm worried about what
would happen in a fire or emergency."
He recalled how one resident had a heart attack and had to be pushed down the street on a stretcher due to the road closure, as the ambulance could not reach the property.
"I'm worried every day that there could be an incident in our street
and the emergency services can't access residents in time," Sridhar said.
The frustrated dad added: "We can't have family or friends around because there's nowhere for them to park.
"When I bought my house it was with a driveway and a garage and it's
been taken away.
"Our house prices have dropped and so has the rental value due to there being no car park spaces."
Residents have also reported sightings of rats running out of the sinkhole as well as repulsive smells rising from it.
The father-of-two also claimed there were other areas of subsidence on the estate – including in a garden of another property on Boatman Drive.
"We have no peace of mind and we're scared," Sridhar said.
I'm worried every day that there could be an incident in our street and the emergency services can't access residents in time.
"We don't know what we are living on top of or what is going to happen. There are four different areas of subsidence.It's affecting all of our lives, our lives are in tatters."
Resident Carol Vince suffers from fibromyalgia, spondylosis, osteoarthritis and diabetes but is forced to trek to her vehicle due to the road closure.
The 66-year-old, of Waterlily Close, said: "When we moved here we had to park the moving van on the main road and carry everything over.
"If we go shopping we have to carry it from the car to our street, it's a nightmare when it's heavy stuff."
She said a lot of families on the estate have children with disabilities who are left to struggle.
One mum Rihanna Amjad says residents have been "abandoned" by the council – while her young son is picking up the slack.
The 37-year-old said: "It's sinking more and more and there's even a
tree growing out of it.
"The fire brigade came out and I asked what they were doing and they
said an evacuation process just in case. It's scary.
"We have a garage with our property that we can't use and we can't
even park outside our own house.
"My 12-year-old son helps most of the community around here to bring
in their shopping from their cars as some of the residents are older.
"My kids ask me if they can fall down the hole. The street should be
safe enough for children to play.
"We feel abandoned by the council, they don't tell us anything."
Now the scandalous sinkhole is set to feature on Rip Off Britain on BBC One on Friday October 8 at 9.15am.
But the three parties involved – Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Redrow and Severn Trent – are at a stalemate as none are willing to accept responsibility.
Robert Wilson, managing director for Redrow Midlands, said: "We are
calling on Severn Trent Water to step forward and at least attend a
meeting to try and resolve this distressing issue for residents.
"This development was completed around 14 years ago and the drainage
was inspected and formally adopted by Seven Trent Water in 2008.
"We undertook a comprehensive survey of the development last year, at our cost, in a bid to identify the problem and find a solution.
"This identified an issue with the drainage system beneath the road."
He warned that only the water service company have the power to fix it and until they do the area will continue to "be affected from water washing away the substructure."
But Severn Trent insist their own investigations concluded it was "highly unlikely that our network is the root cause of the subsidence'".
They instead claimed there was "structural and highways damage
in areas where there are no Severn Trent assets, further demonstrating
that our network is not contributing to the problem."
A spokesman said: "Despite not being responsible for the issues on the estate, we do fully understand how distressing this is for the homeowners, which is why we’ll be happy to support where possible and work with those
involved while they find a solution."
A Stoke-on-Trent city council spokesman said: "We understand the frustration and disruption caused to residents and sympathise with the position they are in.
"Our primary concern from the start has been to protect the safety of residents and the public and that is why we took the difficult but reasonable and proportionate decision to close part of the road by making a temporary traffic regulation order.
"Until the defect in Boatman Drive, which has been caused by no fault
of the council, is brought to a satisfactory condition we will not be
able to repair the highway and reopen the road.
"It is disappointing that the estate developers, Redrow Homes Ltd, have not repaired their ground or Severn Trent Water addressed their drainage defects in order for us to do that. We continue to work proactively with them to try and arrange a resolution to the problem.
"All emergency services were consulted on the road closure and remain
supportive of the decision.
"The closure is flagged on their computer systems and they’ve confirmed it has no impact on their response to incidents."
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