Ancient mine workings are thought to be the cause of a large hole which suddenly appeared in the ground just feet away from a Scout hut in Kirkcaldy.
The 1.2 metre wide by 2 metre deep void appeared on the top of a grassy area just in front of the 35th Fife (Dysart) Scout group’s hall off Quarry Brae on Friday, when it was reported to the Coal Authority by a local resident.
The area, adjacent to the steps leading down to the hall, was sealed off with plastic barriers surrounded by a metal fence after being assessed by Mines Rescue specialists who were called out to assess the collapse as soon as it was discovered.
Bob Low (56), a resident of Windmill Road, whose back garden overlooks the area, said: “The first I knew was when my neighbour came to the door on Friday afternoon asking if I had heard about the hole. I went up to see what was happening and the fence had already been put up.
“Between then and Monday when I went up again it looked like the hole had got slightly bigger in diameter. It is quite a big hole and I’m glad it was discovered quickly because the area is well used by dog walkers and kids playing.”
John Davies (75), who has lived in Quarry Brae for over 10 years, said: “The whole area used to be a quarry and you also had Seafield and the Dubbie Pit coming out around here, so it could be something to do with that.
“The same thing happened in the old Bellfield Crescent about six years ago and the Council came out and filled it back in again. We haven’t been told anything about what is happening since the fence went up on Friday.”
Wendy Logan (44), who lives in nearby Tower Terrace, said she had phoned the Coal Authority and was waiting for someone to call her back to see what was happening.
“I work as a childminder and I know the area is used by the youngsters for playing on. I also help out with the Beavers in the Scout hall. It has been closed for the Christmas break and was due to start up again on Monday, but that has been postponed until we find out what is happening.”
Angus Hugh, group Scout leader of the 35th group, said: “I was notified by the Coal Board on Saturday about the hole and they said they will be investigating it. We have postponed the reopening of the hall for a week until we find out what the plans are.”
What happens next?
Tom Currie, Scottish project manager with the Coal Authority, said: “We are not sure what has caused this hole and it’s my responsibility to determine whether we have any liability.
Mining and geological records suggest there may be a 12-metre shallow coal seam which may have been worked in the past.
A contractor will investigate over the next week or two to see what needs to be done.”