Large sinkhole closes A26 Tonbridge Road in Maidstone

  • Video report from ITV News Meridian's Joe Coshan

South East Water has apologised, after a large sinkhole has led to a major road being closed in Maidstone.

It is the second time in three years that a sinkhole has appeared on the A26 Tonbridge Road, following a similar case 500 metres away in 2018.

One restaurant owner in Barming, who lost nearly a quarter of a million pounds in revenue in 2018, was worried he could face similar losses once again.

Kiron Haque, owner of the Taj Barming restaurant, said: “If it goes on for the same amount of time, the lost revenue will be about the same. I mean they’ve said the road will only be closed for six days, but they said that last time."

“Initially it was only going to be for a few days, then I think a few weeks and it turned out to be five and a half months."

“You cannot have lives disrupted like this, I mean even for the residents, if you can’t get to your house, if it’s added half an hour to your journey, that’s just not right.”

South East Water said they had resumed water supplies to customers living nearby on Saturday, following a temporary outage.

They are now planning how to help return the road to its original condition alongside other utilities and the local highways authority.

South East Water said people can check their website for repair updates. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Andy Beston, Regional Network Manager for South East Water, said: "While these discussions are taking place, we are checking the site three times a day to maintain the security of the site to protect the general public."

“As these investigations go on, we are unable to say when the road will reopen at this time and we appreciate the patience and understanding of the local community while we plan the repair to the road alongside other utilities."

The sinkhole that appeared on the same road in 2018. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Andy Beston added: “We’re really sorry for the disruption caused but hope everyone understands the safety of the public and our workforce is our number one priority."

South East Water are advising customers living by to check their interactive map for updates on repairs to the sinkhole.