Two major sinkholes in Wokingham have pushed councillors to demand to know that Thames Water has learned its lessons.

Evendons Lane in Wokingham was closed for almost four months after a hole opened up beneath a Thames Water tanker carrying out repairs to a collapsed sewer in October last year. It took until late January 2023 before the road could reopen after Thames Water engineers completed repairs.

The repair work caused major disruption to local businesses, with the Kimel Cafe claiming to have lost thousands of pounds due to the cordon surrounding the road.

And in November 2021 a tanker fell into another sinkhole on Elms Road as it carried out sewer repairs to alleviate “the risk of flooding” to properties in Wokingham.

Wokingham Borough Councillors demanded answers from Thames Water’s External Affairs and Sustainability Director, Richard Ayton, at a meeting on Monday, June 12.

Councillor Adrian Mather asked if Mr Ayton was “satisfied with Thames Water and all its contractors around these two incidents".

Mr Ayton said he was “broadly” happy with the water company’s performance – but not with the situation. He added that Thames Water had tried to improve how it communicates with residents and councillors during major incidents.

“We very rarely get sinkholes and when we do it’s very serious,” he said.

“But this particular one was immensely difficult to try and get that vehicle out of there.

“I can only think of one other sinkhole in the last five years. You had two in Wokingham, it was a bit unfair and that one was particularly difficult.”

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He added: “We were in touch a lot with the emergency planners. I think that side of it went well. I’m not sure we were as good as we should have been in in talking to councillors and residents throughout.

“I think there were good days and bad days, perhaps good weeks and bad weeks. It dragged on for a very, very long time.”

Councillor Mather asked for “the Evendons residents to be invited by Thames Water or this council or whoever to a meeting where they can be presented with the lessons learned.” He also asked if Thames Water could provide “a final lessons learned report".

Councillor Andrew Mickleburgh asked for further discussions on lessons learned from the two sinkholes, and a written statement that could be presented to council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee in January.