A family has had their Christmas "cancelled" as a giant sinkhole has flooded their home.
Nick Clarke, 49, says the problem at his home in Macclesfield, Cheshire, has been going on for four years and means that whenever there is heavy rain, the cellar gets flooded with up to five feet of water.
He says that recently the problems have returned greater than before, following Cheshire East Council’s ‘temporary fix’ for the sinkhole last month, CheshireLive reports.
Nick claims this has happened five times in the last five weeks – damaging property, threatening the electrics and on one occasion, requiring a visit from firefighters.
This has led to the 48-year-old cancelling the family’s Christmas break to Blackpool so they can stay home to ensure their house is safe.
They even worry their house could be the next to be demolished – like one on nearby Ryle Street that was cleared so another sinkhole could be fixed.
Nick, a commercial manager, said: "If there is any rain at all now it comes in, the heavier it is the higher the water goes.
"I had booked to go to Blackpool with the in-laws as a Christmas treat but we can’t go now as we don’t want to leave the house. It has definitely spoiled Christmas and we’ve lost a lot of money.
"It is horrible to live with, we can’t go anywhere when it rains and we take it in shifts to sleep."
He went on: "It’s impossible to over emphasise how worried we are about our safety and the possibility of being the next house to be demolished."
Nick says in just the last few weeks the flooding has destroyed a washing machine, tumble dryer and jet washer in the cellar.
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A sinkhole was created on Hobson Street in early 2020, which was filled in last month as a temporary fix but still needs dealing with permanently.
Nick believes the initial collapse that caused a blockage of the culvert – and subsequently the holes – happened four years ago and is responsible for the flooding.
When the Hobson Street sinkhole spent 20 months open this took away his flooding problem as it gave the water another escape route.
But when council contractors fixed it, by connecting the culvert to a sewer this caused it to come back worse.
A spokesman for United Utilities said: "We repaired our sewer over a year ago and it has operated as it should since then.
"Unfortunately a recent temporary repair completed by the council, which involved connecting the culvert into our sewer, is now causing flooding to a nearby property.
"Due to the excessive flows going through the culvert, we did not give permission for this connection for fear it would cause flooding. We are in discussion with the council to request the culvert be disconnected from our sewer and an alternative solution is found."
A Cheshire East Council spokesman strongly refuted United Utilities statement: "It is unfortunate that United Utilities issued a misleading and inaccurate statement last week.
"However, council officers continue to liaise with colleagues at United Utilities to ensure a satisfactory and collaborative solution is agreed for the Hobson Street residents.
"This continues to be a complex and challenging matter and the council is working with United Utilities, and other partner agencies, to identify a long-term and permanent solution to the problems faced with the culverted watercourse and which manages any future implications for the public sewer network."
United Utilities replied: "We have not issued anything misleading and we stand by our previous statement."
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