Evacuated Ripon family warns "we may never return home" after sinkhole drama

Ben Bramley who lives in the property which has been majorly affected by the sinkhole - Glen Minikin

Ben Bramley who lives in the property which has been majorly affected by the sinkhole - Glen Minikin

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A Ripon family who were forced out of their home after a sinkhole swallowed their back garden fear they may never return home.

Ben Bramley, 43, and his wife Adelle Richardson, 40, were one of seven homes to be evacuated after a 66ft sinkhole appeared on Magdalen's Road.

The couple were forcing flee their house with their 17-year-old son after they watched their back garden disappear into the sinkhole at around 10.30pm

A further six houses were evacuated later on Thursday afternoon after cracks appeared in a sewage system connected to their properties.

Harrogate Borough Council as well as the utility services are hopeful of finding a temporary solution to allow these evacuated families to return home in the near future.

However, Ben said his family were unable to share this optimism and were still unsure if they would ever be able to return home.

He said: "It's true that some people have been able to return home but that's certainly not the case for our family.

"At the moment it's a case of if we are able to return home rather than when. We certainly won't be back for the next few months that's for sure.

"We're waiting for a survey to be undertaken which will outline how the hole can be repaired but at the moment it's not safe for us to return.

"For the time being we're at a holiday let in Burton Leonard but our insurers are working hard to find us somewhere more permanent to stay."

The British Geological Survey has warned nearby residents that the site remains a risk and there is the potential for further slippage around the sinkhole.

Further cracks appeared on Friday but no further slippage has been reported at the site since then.

Mr Bramley has praised the work of his insurers following the landslip, as well as the community spirit shown towards the affected families.

However, he admitted that the situation for both his, and other families worst affected by the sinkhole, remains "difficult".

He said: "The most worrying part after a situation like this is trying to work out where we are going to live. We've been fortunate because the after care has been fantastic.

"The most difficult thing now is the uncertainty; not knowing if we will ever be able to return home. We can't plan for the future until we know what's happening with the house.

"This also has wide implications. The cost of insurance is going to go up and there's a family in Stonebridgegate who have had their house sale fall through because of gypsum concerns."