Pitch shut as 100ft mine shaft appears

A 100ft-deep mine shaft has opened up on a football pitch in the Black Country, closing the site until further notice.

A 100ft-deep mine shaft has opened up on a football pitch in the Black Country, closing the site until further notice.

A 6ft-wide hole has appeared on Wednesbury’s Norman Deeley playing fields, built on former limestone workings.

An emergency fence has been erected around the hole, and the gates to the playing fields have been closed.

Barry Martin, chairman of Bilston Road tenants and residents association, said: “It was noticed late last week – a chap came to my door and said there was a dip in the grass.”

The pitches are owned by Sandwell Council but Mr Martin is a keyholder to the gates.

He added: “I have closed the field and put a lock on the gate to stop the kids getting in.

“There is a history of mine shafts, and it happened a few years ago back in the 1980s.“They reckon that there are about eight plotted around the field.

“I think it has got to be investigated.

“We have shut them because someone might get hurt.”

Wednesbury North councillor Mavis Hughes said the coal authority were alerted to the hole on Thursday and were at the scene from 11pm to 4am on Saturday making the area safe

.She added: “It’s awful to think what could have happened if it hadn’t been found.”

The former Bilston Road pitches in Wednesbury were named after Norman Deeley last year following months of campaigning by residents and councillors.

The England International winger honed his skills on the pitch as a child and starred for Wolves during the club’s glory days of the late 1950s and early 1960s. He died in September 2007 aged 73.

This is not the first time a mine shaft has opened up in the town.

In 1994 a man almost plunged to his death when a 300ft-deep hole opened up in his garden, yards from where he was standing.

The hole, which was 15ft in diameter, swallowed up two 10ft conifer trees in the garden of the Hydes Road property.

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