Collapse of Victorian water pipe likely cause of sinkhole

The sink hole, pictured by reader @GrundyOxford

The sink hole, pictured by reader @GrundyOxford

First published in
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A SINKHOLE in a road next to the Kassam Stadium was most likely caused by a Victorian ceramic water pipe collapsing, an Oxfordshire geologist has said.

The hole, approximately 8ft by 4ft, formed on Saturday outside the Ozone Leisure Park next to Oxford United’s stadium.

Mark Barron, of the British Geological Survey (BGS) in Wallingford, said it was probably caused by heavy rain from Saturday’s storm.

He said: “This geology is Beckley Sand, which is relatively loose.

“There used to be a farm in that area called Minchery Farm and our guess was that there must have been old clay or pottery pipes connected with the farm.

“If a historic water pipe or even a more recent one was damaged then a leakage could cause the sand to start to mobilise.

“With a lot of rain falling in a short period of time that is a classic scenario for a hole to open.

“There might be joints between them that start to leak, but they can also be moved around by surface activity.

“The interesting thing is that this hole is quite elongated, one wonders whether that is parallel to the pipe.”

On Monday, Oxfordshire County Council said the hole was on private land and the estate department at Ozone-owner Firoka, Firoz Kassam’s business, said it had not been made aware of the sinkhole.

Neither Firoka, the county council or Thames Water responded to our queries.

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