1. ITV Report

200 feet hole appears in Cornish car park

The hole is thought to be up to 200 feet deep. Credit: ITV West Country

Part of a housing estate in St Ives has been sealed off after a mineshaft opened up. A mining expert says the area is riddled with mine workings dating back to the nineteenth century.

The hole is now surrounded by emergency fencing. It opened up in a residential car park in the Garth-an-Creet part of the town on Saturday 28 April. It's believed the shaft is 200 feet deep but it is blocked by debris at a depth of 30 feet.

The mineshaft - before and after Credit: Tom Spencer

Tom Spencer lives in the house nearest to the exposed shaft. He had noticed a dip in the tarmac three days earlier but then it developed into something more serious.

He describes how he poked the hole with a broom minutes before it caved in.

'I came home and there were cracks around the outside of the hole, and the hole in the middle.

I was stood on the hole and I had my broom handle poking through the hole in the middle to see if I could see the bottom. I couldn't and stood back.

About ten minutes later what I was stood on actually dropped away.'

– Tom Spencer, Home owner

Tom Spencer bought the house two years ago but says the car park wasn't built on because of known mineshafts in the area. ITV News asked him if he was worried that it might affect his property.

'Well yes I suppose but there's been proper mining surveys done. For me to buy the property I had to do proper mining surveys and they all said that underneath the house it's fine.

– Tom Spencer, Home owner

A mining expert says there is a possibility similar holes could open up nearby.

St Ives was one of the most industrialised areas in the nineteenth century - predominantly mining and mineral processing. There are considerable workings under a lot of the town. However a lot of these are deep and nothing to worry about

– Stuart Dann, Mining expert

Surveys will be carried out to decide the best method of filling in the shaft and making it safe.

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