Following the news story about the large sinkhole that opened in a residential estate in St Albans, our Research team at Groundsure have done some investigative work and found that this area was formerly used as pits for the extraction of clay for the London Brick Company.
This analysis was undertaken using historical Ordnance Survey mapping which shows the clay pits present between c. 1879 and early 1900s. These were later infilled and the properties along Fontmell Close constructed. Due to the age of the properties it is unlikely they were constructed in line with modern building regulations and therefore more susceptible to ground stability issues arising from the compression, dissolution or settlement of materials used to fill the pits. This issue could have been a contributory factor in the creation of the sinkhole.
We always recommend that ground stability searches are undertaken ahead of purchase to highlight any potential issues that could arise from past mining activities as well as natural instability problems. Groundsure’s flagship reports the Homescreen and Homebuyers would have picked up the presence of these pits and confirmed that ground stability issues should be considered when purchasing a property in this area.