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Red tape delays Reading mine subsidence repair

GOVERNMENT BEAURACRACY has held up urgent ground stabilisation on unstable mine workings which have damaged houses in a Reading street.

The unstable mine workings are continuing to threaten a row of Victorian terraced houses in Field Road, ten months after the mine first collapsed.

Consultant Peter Brett Associates was brought in by Reading Borough Council after the collapse in January (NCE 20 January) - which seriously damaged two houses.

It has been unable to start site work until the full £2.6M land stabilisation grant has been awarded by English Partnerships.

Earlier this month a new hole appeared in the ground (News last week), after heavy rain.

'The contract is in place and we are ready to go, we are just waiting for funding, ' a spokesman for Reading Borough Council told NCE.

The council was awarded 50% of the funding under English Partnerships' land stabilisation programme, on 5 September.

Full funding is subject to a land clearance order being issued.

English Partnerships says Reading Council does not have the power to issue this.

Instead it must get the order passed by parliament before getting the full grant. So far this has caused seven weeks' delay to the project, provoking fury from local residents.

This is the first major grant to be issued under the land stabilisation scheme, which was created after a number of major land subsidences in the Midlands, where the majority of 'designated' local authorities are located.

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