Payout after home demolished by sinkhole


Scottish Water has been ordered to pay £220,000 compensation to a couple whose home was demolished after a sinkhole appeared in their garden.

David O'Connor and Susan Docherty had complained that a burst water main was undermining the ground near their home.

They argued that after five years of leaking, the pipe eventually resulted in a major crater appearing.

Scottish Water had denied the claim and blamed the appearance of the sinkhole on poor land quality and heavy rain.

However, during a hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, the water company was accused of failing to prevent the sinkhole forming at the couple's home in the Calton area of Glasgow in 2013.

Lawyers for Mr O'Connor and Ms Docherty told the court that a water main had burst in December 2008 and that the escaping liquid had ultimately damaged a nearby sewer and led to a manhole collapse.

'Remarkable coincidence'

But Scottish Water's legal team claimed that the water main leak did not contribute to the appearance of the sinkhole and said they had done everything in their power to remedy it.

Judge Lady Wolffe said: "They advanced alternative explanations for the 2013 collapse, including heavy rainfall in the month or so preceding [it]".

She added that Scottish Water had also blamed the "poor quality generally of the land" in the area.

But in her judgement, published on Friday, Lady Wolffe sided with the couple.

She wrote: "The two incidents occurred in very close proximity to each other. The 2008 water main burst caused settlement in precisely the same location that the initial settlement in November 2013 occurred.

"The obvious explanation for this is that the two incidents were related."

The judge also suggested that it would have been a "remarkable coincidence" for the sinkhole in 2013 to have appeared in exactly the same location as the incident in 2008.