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Dr Clive Edmonds and left, the road damage in Leeds


Sink hole ‘may happen again’


AN expert geologist claims a cata- strophic sink hole which shut a Kent village for six months is only a burst water main away in other parts of the borough. Much of the soil and deep level ground structure across Maidstone is of a similar nature to Leeds – leaving it susceptible to sudden col- lapses. Dr Clive Edmonds, a geohazards


expert specialising in sinkholes for engineering giant Peter Brett Asso- ciates (PBA), said the suspected leak there could trigger similar events elsewhere. The collapse which occurred in


Leeds in November 2014 is thought to have been caused by awater es- cape causing weaknesses in under- ground “voids” which eventually gaveway. Dr Edmonds said: “In principle,


the same geological circumstances are present in a wide area, not only in the village but the land around it for that problem to happen. “You need something to trigger it.


In Upper Street, Leeds, it was be- lieved that awater main leakingwas the probable trigger. “The geological conditions are similar in other areas, not just in Leeds but places like Maidstone and West Malling.” Asked if high volumes of traffic


MAIDSTONE Borough Council (MBC) says it wants to make more of its Roman-style amphitheatre on the banks of the river near the Arch- bishops’ Palace. Described as one of the town’s “most delightful outdoor venues” the site has been branded by some as “a wasted investment” and “a drug-dealing gang meeting corner”. The arena and stage, which seats


250 people, is one of the lasting legacy projects, funded in part by the National Lottery, to celebrate the Millennium. The council says the amphithe-


atre is now one of three priorities identified in a three-year action


were a contributing factor, Dr Ed- monds added: “It’s difficult to gauge. Clearly, the roads have been used for a long time until therewas too muchwater in one location. “We don’t think traffic levelswere implicated although one might argue that if you had a shallow void and you put a heavy load onto it, it wouldn’t be helpful.” At the time of the sinkhole ap- pearing, local councillor Gary Cooke said a separate series of in- dependent investigations had been carried out and found no imminent threat. But he claimed that the traffic levels going through the village “can’t have helped”. The voids which collapsed were


at depths of 25-30m. Downs Mail has obtained a copy


of the PBA survey into the orginal Leeds collapse which hinted at wider possible problems in the Maidstone area. Dr Edmonds studied geology at


the University of Nottingham and holds a master’s degree in engineer- ing geology from Imperial College, London. He also holds a PhD in engineer-


ing geomorphology from Royal Holloway. Dr Edmonds, a PBA partner,was


called in provide expertise on the crisis which hit Leeds.


Make most of amphitheatre


plan to improve access, facilities and activies in the area. The work is being overseen by the Maidstone River Park Group, recently formed to carry out the council’s Tourism Destination Management Plan. The group has already recruited McDonalds’ staff from Maidstone who have been cleaning up the area. AMaidstone Council spokesman


said: “MBC would like to see more events taking place in the am- phitheatre and we would be very happy to work with event organis- ers looking to book an outdoor space either in this space or the River Stage at Whatman Park.”


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