Businesses count the cost of Sheringham sinkhole, but it’s also proving quite a tourist attraction
- Credit: Archant
Businesses are already counting the cost in lost trade after a cavernous sinkhole opened up on Sheringhan's High Street.
The street is closed to traffic and pedestrians, shoppers and holiday-makers are having to squeeze past the works using the east side footpath.
Since it appeared in the road surface on Saturday afternoon the hole has been slowly expanding, as engineers investigate exactly how extensive the damage is underground.
Paul Starling, manager of Starlings store in the High Street, said; "As soon as they closed the street, it stopped the flow of people coming by.
"We have got issues with deliveries and mail not coming through and had to suspend some of our pick-ups.
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"The flow of people is down compared to previous half-term weeks. It's not as busy as normal.
"But we're lucky we're on this side of the street, as several shops on the other side are closed."
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Businesses have been told it could take "between two and seven to eight weeks to fix the sinkhole".
Mr Starling added: "if this goes on for seven or eight weeks there will be claims for compensation coming in from businesses, left, right and centre."
Businesses have also been affected by a lack of water, with Chai-Yo Thai restaurant having to close at lunch-time.
However, it's not all doom and gloom. A member of staff at the Craft Bakery in the High Street said: "It's made us busier. People are coming down to look at it."
The sinkhole is a couple of feet in diameter on the surface, but underground it's far larger, with one estimate putting it at 6.5 metres (21ft) deep and up to 20 metres (66ft) wide.
An Anglian Water spokeswoman said they "could not say" how long the repair works would take.
She said: "The road has been closed by the Highways Agency for the safety of the public and to allow a full structural assessment to take place, as our sewer pipe has also been damaged, and a water main has been exposed.
"Due to the location of the damage and the stability of the road surrounding the sinkhole, our teams are now planning how to access the pipes below the ground safely. Once this assessment is complete we will begin the repair to the damaged sewer."