A busy Lewes road could be closed for up to six weeks after work crews discovered a three-metre ‘void’ under a number of buildings.
The damage was found by Southern Water engineers in Station Street on Wednesday (June 22) after a sewer collapse earlier in the week.
East Sussex County Council say the road is expected to be closed for up to six weeks while the damage and the road surface are repaired.
An East Sussex County Council spokesman said: “A sewer owned by Southern Water collapsed in Station Street on Monday (June 20) and during repair work a void was discovered under the building housing the Lewes Patisserie.
“The void is around 3m in length and extends under the road, therefore for safety reasons we’ve had to close the road and residents have been advised to evacuate the building.
“We expect the road to be closed for around six weeks while investigations and any necessary repairs are carried out to fill the void and make the road and the building safe.”
Lewes Patisserie, Axtell hairdressing and the function room of the Royal Oak pub – which is based in the rooms above the other businesses – are all affected by the repair work.
The rest of the Royal Oak is unaffected by the damage and is open as usual.
Landlady Trudy Furnell said she has cancelled two weeks of bookings for the function room due to damage and repair work.
A spokesman for Southern Water said: “Whilst we were working to repair a sewer blockage in Station Street, Lewes, we noticed a hole had appeared in the pavement outside the Patisserie.
“After an investigation, a void was identified under the surrounding properties.
“Affected residents have been advised to contact their insurance companies and East Sussex County Council have issued a road closure.”
A diversion route will be put in place through the High Street and St Andrew’s Lane while the road is closed. A separate diversion route for large vehicles will run along Southover Road via Bell Lane and Winterbourne Hollow.
A Lewes District Council spokesman said: “Southern Water discovered a void underneath buildings on Station St Lewes while carrying out emergency repair work to a sewer on Friday (17 June). Lewes District Council’s Building Control Surveyors are currently investigating if there is any structural damage to the properties in and around 5 Station Street, Lewes.
“The void is around 3m in length and extends under the road, therefore for safety reasons the road closure has had to remain in place and residents were initially advised to evacuate the building.
“Lewes District Council and East Sussex County Council will continue to liaise with local residents and representatives from relevant building insurers to help them assess and complete any necessary repair work as soon as possible.”
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