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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 June, 2005, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Doubts over mine collapse homes
Mineshaft hole
The hole appeared overnight and quickly filled with water.
It could be months before a decision is made about what to do with homes hit by a mines collapse, housing bosses said.

Nine residents in Greenmoor Road, Egremont, Cumbria, fled the 1960s-built bungalows after a 30ft (9m) hole appeared in back gardens on Sunday.

The area was used extensively for iron ore mining and the collapse is thought to have been caused by subsidence.

Five people have been allowed to return to their homes. But safety fears mean four others cannot.

The properties are owned by Home Housing, which is appointing a specialist consultant engineer to visit the site.

The hole, which quickly filled with red water because of lingering iron ore deposits, emerged in the early hours of Sunday.

Alternative accommodation

A spokeswoman for Home Housing North West said: "Five of the residents have been allowed to return to their homes.

"But unfortunately we have four people who are still out.

"We are trying to find them alternative accommodation in Egremont and are working to make ready a number of void buildings.

"It could be some time before we know what will happen to the affected properties."

The area around the collapse remains cordoned off.

Dave Banks, of the West Cumbria Mines Research Group, said there was a risk to adjacent properties from the collapse.

He said the most likely cause was recent heavy rain which may have affected the water table in the area.

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