Road closure fails to ease street collapse fears nine months on

Nene Parade in March where the road is on the brink of collapse.

Sink holes in Nene Parade, March have led to the road on the brink of collapse, something which residents are still fearful will happen. - Credit: Colin Ovenden

Temporary closure signs have failed to quell residents’ fears that part of their street is on the brink of collapse. 

The closure will affect from where Nene Parade, March, has slipped to the footpath at the eastern end.  

Cambridgeshire County Council says the signs will go up “over the next couple of weeks” and barriers will be erected. 

It means at least five homes will be affected and the occupants are being told to make alternative parking arrangements. 

Colin Ovenden is one of those affected and he believes piling underneath the road is needed to stop the road from slipping any further towards the river. 


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But he thinks the damage has already been done. 

“People have been moving their possessions, gardens have been destroyed and there are frontages that look a total mess,” he said.

Sink holes remain in Nene Parade, March which is on the brink of collapse

Sink holes in Nene Parade, March have led to the road on the brink of collapse, something which residents are still fearful will happen. - Credit: Colin Ovenden

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“The stress of trying to get through and get this resolved is immense. 

“For the work to be done, it will probably take two to three weeks. For a project that could take two to three weeks, to go on for nine months is ridiculous.”   

Nine months is when he says Cambridgeshire County Council were told about sink holes appearing on Nene Parade. 

A temporary barrier in place in Nene Parade, March.

Sink holes in Nene Parade, March have led to the road on the brink of collapse, something which residents are still fearful will happen. - Credit: Colin Ovenden

He says work to fix a water main temporarily solved the problem. 

But Mr Ovenden said once Anglian Water had fixed the water main, the problem returned. 

And he believes caused the road to slip further towards the Old River Nene. 

“One of the engineers said it was a badly made joint, but Anglian Water denied it and Cambridgeshire County Council didn’t argue with them,” he said. 

Sink holes remain in Nene Parade, March where some of the road could collapse

Sink holes in Nene Parade, March have led to the road on the brink of collapse, something which residents are still fearful will happen. - Credit: Colin Ovenden

After water vole surveys in the area were completed, in May the county council’s highways team said there “should be no further delays” to when work can begin. 

But despite telling residents that a start date was imminent, a lack of response from contractors and escalating costs meant work was put on hold. 

“The council said they could not do the work because they had to do a survey to see if the ground was stable to take their machinery, and found it wasn’t stable enough,” said Mr Ovenden. 

A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesperson said access for those on foot and bicycle and refuse services will not be affected.

Sink holes remain in Nene Parade, March

Sink holes in Nene Parade, March have led to the road on the brink of collapse, something which residents are still fearful will happen. - Credit: Colin Ovenden

However, the spokesperson could not confirm why the work has been delayed or how much it will cost.

They said: “Temporary barriers have been put up to stop parking on and around this land slip (and a much smaller slip also located on the Parade) to avoid the potential for any further damage to the road and the embankment.

“We are currently investigating the cause of the damage to the road.”

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