Stoke & Staffordshire

Oakamoor B&B could stay closed after sink hole

Sink hole filled with rocks Image copyright The Laurels
Image caption Temporary repairs were made in April, but the hole is still waiting to be injected with cement

A bed and breakfast damaged by a sink hole more than eight months ago could remain closed indefinitely, its owners have said.

The sink hole, measuring more than 10ft (3m) wide, appeared at the property in Oakamoor, Staffordshire, in April.

It has been filled with rocks, but is still waiting to be injected with a mix of ash and cement.

A landslide that started almost a year ago, meanwhile, is still continuing to damage the B&B, owner Phil Tester said.

"The landslip's got worse. It's affecting along the whole front of the house," he said.

"We've done one season of trading and we've been closed ever since. We've just been sitting here, you can imagine the stress of it."

In recent weeks, Mr Tester said he had discovered collapsed drains, putting toilets out of action, and further cracks around the sink hole.

Image copyright The Laurels
Image caption Mr Tester said further cracks had developed around the original sink hole

Stabilise land

The business was originally expected to reopen in October and Mr Tester said he had received countless "broken promises" on when the engineering work would be finished.

Work now planned for the new year includes repairs to shore up the landslide, expected to cost insurers £2m.

Mr Tester and his wife Helen bought the B&B in 2013 and invested £50,000 refurbishing rooms.

Between April and November of that year it attracted 2,500 guests.

Insurers have covered loss of earnings at the business, but Mr Tester said its future looked bleak.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe hole expanded to more than 10ft (3m) wide, the B&B owner said

He said he had been told any new policy, from March, would depend on a retaining wall in another part of the property being replaced and the land behind it stabilised - expected to cost the Testers about £100,000.

"It's £100,000 we haven't got," he said.

"The business hasn't been earning and we won't be able to borrow the money because we can't use the building as collateral."

More on this story