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Oakamoor B&B temporarily closes as a sink hole appears

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: April 09, 2014

  • 07/04/14 sink hole - The Laurels, Oakamoor The Laurels BB has been left with a sink hole. The hole has been filled in now but should still be able to see bits of it and cracks around.Phil and Helen Tester

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A SINK hole which suddenly appeared at a bed and breakfast near Uttoxeter has left the owners counting the cost.

Helen Tester, who owns The Laurels, in Oakamoor, with her husband Phil, was left with a shock when the chasm appeared last week.

After a busy weekend the hole, which was more than three metres wide, has now been filled with 140 tonnes of stones, which seems to have stabilised it.

It will now be injected with concrete before a concrete cap is laid on top.

However, this is not the end to the Testers problems as they were forced to close two weeks ago after noticing cracks which were followed by damage to the car park, fence posts and even walls due to a landslip.

Mrs Tester told the Advertiser that the couple started to notice the problems last year.

The mother-of-three said: “We started to notice the landslip in December after we came back from holiday as it was taking away parts of the drive.

“Excavation was being done by builders at the end of the property and they had gone down 30 feet, it was after that we started to notice a few cracks.

“We have been dealing with insurance companies and loss adjusters and the house is now being monitored but we cannot open for business.

“We are hoping it will be fixed within the next three to four months but it will cost around £40,000 to fix as the damage is so severe.

“Luckily we had the geo-technical experts doing work when the sink hole opened up so there was a very quick response. This meant it didn’t get any worse.

“We still have a long way to go though.”

The bed and breakfast last opened for business during February half term and then closed shortly after for work to be completed with the hope of opening again in time for the Alton Towers season.

The 49-year-old added: “We wanted to be open for the start of the season at Alton Towers but we have been told by the insurance company that we can’t.

“The work should be done by the end of August or the beginning of September.

“We have planned to open again in October so we gave them another month to get it done as we don’t want to be cancelling bookings.”

The bed and breakfast is built on a hill and work to excavate land further down for redevelopment was stopped by the Health and Safety Executive in January following the land slip.

Last month the couple’s insurers brought in engineers to assess the damage and monitor the landslide and found the property was built over a clay pit.

The experts had struggled to find solid rock.

Mr Tester, 51, added: “It has been an incredibly stressful time, there have been a few tears.

“It is not just our business, it is our home.”

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