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House collapses near Camborne close to where mine shaft opened up

By WBJLock  |  Posted: January 29, 2014

Comments (5)

A house near Camborne collapsed in the early hours of this morning.

The entire north facing side of the house is now in rubble.

A local resident heard an “almighty rumble” at around 5.20am and now says the road has been cordoned off.

A Devon and Cornwall police spokesman said they were not called to the scene.

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Postmistress at Tehidy Stores, Barbara Beach said Cormac, Cornwall Council’s arms-length engineering company, were on the site yesterday after a crack appeared in the property that has now collapsed.

She said: “a number of years ago” a mine shaft had opened up in the garden of the property next door.

She said the shaft has been cordoned off since it originally opened up.

Speaking to West Briton she said: “It was as if a couple of huge lorries were passing by.

"At first I thought it can’t be anything more, but then seeing it this morning, I was shocked.

“I am not aware of anyone being in the home. I think it must have been empty.

"There was a mine shaft that opened next door and we noticed a huge crack in the house yesterday."

Her son, John took photographs of the property first thing this morning.

Cornwall Council officers are currently on site assessing the damage.

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  • WoodenDuck84  |  January 29 2014, 11:19PM

    Even if I had enough money to buy a house in Camborne outright, I think I'd still take a small mortgage on it so that I knew that if a mining feature opened up it would be the mortgage company fighting with the insurer, not me! Cornwall Council are never keen on the idea of proactive maintenance and investigation - they prefer to bury their heads in the sand and wait for people's lives to be at risk (or worse as we saw with the landlise in Looe!). Presumably they are daunted by the idea of taking on every on responsibilty for putting right every mine shaft in the county - and quite fairly I have to say- but as another poster said, the house next door has had an open shaft in front of it for years, literally. It didn't take a genius to figure out the house next door was at risk - so what was done about it by the local authority? Did they investigate tunnels adjoining tunnels to assess short, medium and long-term risks? I believe the council have the authority to demolish a dangerous structure in an emergency situation and bill the owner for the pleasure. But this probably sounds like too much hassle for them. Negative PR. Too much expense - and too much financial and legal risk if a big bad mortgage company gets grumpy because their asset just got reduced to a pile of rubble.

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  • WoodenDuck84  |  January 29 2014, 10:59PM

    I think Cornwall Council's 'mine emergency' budget has probably already been blown fixing the adit and all the associated property damage in Troon - so I don't expect anything to happen here quickly. It's funny, when you buy a house in Camborne you're not 3 or 4 lines into reading the deeds before you're told that the earth below it is not yours and the mining rights belong to someone else- but seemingly, if a bloody great mining feature opens up, you're on your own! It's true that most mortgage companies ask for a mining survey- but these only pick up recorded features. As every single mining report says something along the lines of 'this report offers no guarantees because up until a certain date there was no requirement for mine owners to record the position or details of mine features'. Every mortgage company reads this when they receive the report from the prospective purchaser- so presumably they accept the risk when they decide to lend money. Therefore the responsibility for putting things right should ultimately lie with the mortgage company. In the event of a shaft opening up they should claim from the buildings cover insurance that they insist the homeowner has at all times

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  • SWBADCOCK  |  January 29 2014, 7:36PM

    I feel its about time the Government steps in to help the people who are affected by mining in this way , total tragedy, which could of been a lot worse .The people of Cornwall have been blighted for decades by collapses and subsidence to their property and the cost of having mining reports and investigations before buying a home for their family's . In Wales the mine owners are responsible for all the mine old and new and if this sort of thing happened then the mine company would pay , and any info about the mines is readily available for all to see , here every time a house is sold a mining report has to be purchased to see what is under it . i know for a fact that if a home has a fault thought to be under it then a mining investigation has to be done which cost thousands of pounds .When these investigations are carried out and found to be satisfactory then its ok to sell , still leaving the cost to be settled with the investigation team , and if a fault is found then the value of the property is affected .

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  • TheGeofflane  |  January 29 2014, 7:30PM

    Property speculation is nothing new. All you had to do in Victorian times to free up land for development was to literally throw railway sleeper timbers across and bury those in a few feet of earth. We read of these collapses from time to time. Many adits lie close underground as well. Wet winters, such as this one, sometimes find them. It used to be said, 'Never buy a house in a mining area without a survey'. But records are far from complete. Maybe modern geophysics can help, but 'Caveat Emptor' - let the buyer beware.

  • break  |  January 29 2014, 3:24PM

    I live down the road from this and a shaft opened up next door a few years ago.That mineshaft has been open ever since because no one will except responsability. Shafts in Tehidy Road have been opening up for a number of years,it appears as though this may not be a shaft but a close to surface tunnel which has collapsed.Which begs the question,when the other shafts opened, why were the tunnels coming off the shafts not checked and maintained? Then this may not have happened.Maybe they should consider checking on the remainder of the tunnel,before the road collapses too.

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