Police asked by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to probe roadblock removal

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Image source, Richard Price/BBC
Image caption,
The blocks were moved aside on Wednesday night

Police have been asked to investigate after huge concrete blocks put on a subsiding street to stop traffic were moved.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council closed Boatman Drive in 2019, for safety reasons, after huge cracks appeared.

A temporary gate was installed in July by the authority to give limited access but was removed without permission.

Large replacement blocks have been pushed aside and the council said "the matter has been raised with police".

Residents told the BBC they have become frustrated with the situation after nearly three years since the sinkhole appeared and feel forgotten.

One of them, John, said of the barriers: "It is an absolute pain especially when you have to go shopping, even taking the bins out."

Image caption,
Concrete blocks were placed on the road in August after a previous temporary gate was removed without permission, the council said

Luqman Aziz, 18, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the road should be left open as "there's no point putting a barrier on".

Helen Khan, 43, said the council had not been communicating its plans even after engineers investigated earlier this year.

"They're quick enough to send letters out when they're blocking the road but after the investigation works - which we waited about two years for - we've no communication since," she said.

The council has previously said the problem was "no fault of the council" while Severn Trent Water also said it was not to blame for the collapse.

They added they were working with both the authority and the estate developer, Redrow Homes. The developer has been asked for a response.

The MP for Stoke Central, Jo Gideon, said she would be pushing the council to find out what engineers reported and what would happen next.

"I will continue to fight for action at government level and locally until we have a solution to this serious public safety issue and the road reopened," she said.

Image source, Richard Price/BBC
Image caption,
MP Jo Gideon (second from right) said she would push for a solution for residents on the road

Developer Redrow Midlands, said it was very aware of the ongoing difficulties and frustrations facing residents.

"The site was completed around 14 years ago, however we have continued to liaise with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Severn Trent Water as well as under taking a comprehensive survey of the development, at our cost, in a bid to identify the problem and help find a solution, said managing director Robert Wilson.

"We understand the council are working towards a way to rectify the issues and we hope this leads to a speedy resolution for residents."

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