Vulnerable residents 'scared to leave their homes' after mineshaft opens up in Cornish village

The mineshaft opened in front of a house on White House Close, Carbis Bay. Credit: BPM Media

Some elderly residents say they're scared to leave their homes after security fencing was installed around a mineshaft that opened up in a Cornish village.

It opened in front of a house on White House Close, Carbis Bay, on the last day of November 2023.

Cornwall Council’s highways wing Cormac erected an emergency security fence around the property on 1 December, which residents say blocks access for people living at one end of the cul-de-sac.

People living in that part of the street say they've had to move their cars away from their houses to ensure they weren’t trapped behind the fencing.

A month on, elderly and vulnerable residents living behind the fencing say they're hesitant to leave their homes.

A mineshaft has opened up in Carbis Close Credit: BPM Media

There are also fears the fence could lead to an accident as reversing vehicles have already damaged walls.

Cornwall Council has said while it understands residents’ concerns, safety has to be its priority while mining investigations are carried out.

Speaking on behalf of his neighbours, Mark Richards, who lives on the road said: “One elderly resident had to walk from their flat past the fence and I could see he was severely struggling - I was concerned about him.

"Neighbours told me they had also seen him struggling so much he was clinging on to the fence and collapsed onto the wall as he couldn’t hold on.

“I asked neighbours if anyone had seen him and nobody had, so I knocked on doors until I found his flat and he was very pleased to see me.

"He told me had lost his independence and quality of life, and that he couldn’t go out now.”

“I understand the road closure but I told the head of engineering in mid-December that I had concerns about residents and that it needed to be reassessed," he added.

"There’s been no indication of sinking or subsidence on the road. If they just opened it up a couple of feet – I’m not saying remove it."

Mr Richards added: “I’m not concerned about the general inconvenience but I am concerned about the welfare of vulnerable residents, and I’m aware these things have got the potential to run for months.

"The fence was installed and then left with no updates and with no point of contact for us.

"We have just been left to put up with it.”

"He said that the initial period for the installation of the protective fencing was until 1 March, but there was the potential it could be longer.

“We’ve not been updated since December 4 despite myself and others reporting numerous concerns.” Residents are now waiting for the results of a council geotechnical engineering test to see if there are unstable mine workings on the road outside the affected property.

Cornwall Council leader Linda Taylor, who represents the area, St Ives town councillor Paul Viney, who has visited the street, and fellow town councillor Luke Rogers have since responded to Mark Richards.

A spokesperson for Cornwall Council said: “We fully understand the inconvenience caused to residents, but safety has to be our first priority, and this fencing must remain in place until the results of a forthcoming mining investigation are known.

“The property owner’s insurance company will conduct an invasive investigation later this month. Based on this assessment, we will reassess the measures currently in place.

“We are committed to resolving the issue as soon as possible and appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation.”

Credit: Lee Trewhela/ Local Democracy Reporting Service