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Council to bear liability of Ripon sinkholes

shutterstock 1052120240 ripon

Harrogate Borough Council might need to source its own liability insurance for sinkholes for a new swimming pool in Ripon.

In a report to the council’s cabinet, it said that the designers and contractor for a new six-lane swimming pool in Ripon did not have sufficient insurance due to the ground conditions in the town.

The proposed site for the new pool has undergone ”extensive investigation of ground conditions, reflecting the known challenges of building in the gypsum influenced areas of Ripon,” and the pool was ”buildable, subject to detailed structural foundation designs.”

Architect Pick Everard had confirmed with the council that their professional liability insurance would only extend to a sinkhole of up to 5m in diameter. Willmott Dixon, the main construction contractor, would require a similar limitation, the report said. 

It continued: “It would therefore be necessary for the council to arrange insurance of the construction phase at the council’s cost and the council would have no right of redress against the design team or construction contractor for any damage to the works or completed building caused by a sinkhole exceeding the size acceptable to the designer’s insurers.

“It is now understood that the ground conditions would result in a transfer of design liability for ‘sinkholes’ to Harrogate Borough Council for voids over 5m, insurance of the construction phase and insurance for any subsequent subsidence events,” the report said.

Last August a Sainsburys Local store in Ripon was evacuated after a sinkhole opened up in an alleyway behind the store.

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