Hole lot of concern about the market square in Saffron Walden ‘collapsing’

Saffron Walden market square. Saffron Walden market square.

Thursday, August 14, 2014
10:59 AM

Fears that a sinkhole could open up in Saffron Walden market square have led to councillors requesting expert analysis be carried out to prevent a possible “tragedy”.

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Town and district councillor Doug Perry raised the issue in response to the latest partial collapse of the road in the busy town centre.

Essex Highways plans to undertake a temporary resurfacing of the area but Cllr Perry is worried that if a more long-term approach is not taken, the consequence could be catastrophic.

Speaking at a meeting of the town council’s planning and road traffic committee meeting last week, he said: “This is not the first time the road has collapsed – it keeps happening.

“The slade runs underneath the market square, and we know it is built on antiquated piping, but we don’t know what else.

“I’m concerned something is going to collapse in if we’re not careful. We need the market in town – the last thing we need is a tragedy where the market square collapses.”

Mayor Sandra Eden sought to clarify what Cllr Perry was saying, asking: “You’re talking about a sinkhole opening around us?”

He replied: “Yes, I’m not saying it’s going to happen but this is about the fifth time we have had something collapse in the market square.”

It was claimed Essex County Council had previously intended to carry out a survey when the road collapsed outside the library but the town council was never told of any findings.

Cllr Eden suggested the county council had probably abandoned the idea due to cost, to which Cllr Ben Balliger, the chairman of the committee, said: “Well, you can’t put money before safety.”

It was agreed Cllr Perry would take his request to Essex Highways, while the planning and road traffic committee would also ask the question and invite county councillor John Lodge to a meeting to discuss it further.

• What do you think? Do you know what is under the market square and could there be another collapse? E-mail editor@saffronwalden-reporter.co.uk

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