Hobson Street sinkhole song rocks Macclesfield after 700 days of inaction

  Posted: 20.10.21 at 18:04 by Alexander Greensmith

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A song dedicated to a sinkhole that has been in our town for almost two years has become a viral hit.

The song 'Macclesfield Sink Hole Day 700', which has a music video shot at the Hobson Street sinkhole, has already been played over 4,000 times in the first two days.

The tune was co-wrote by former Macclesfield X-Factor contestant Luke Stevenson - who sings in a lovely local voice on the track - and Macclesfield music tutor Ally Burrows.

The video also stars Luke's infant son, who is dressed as a builder holding a toy digger.

It was the first song ever created by Ally Burrows, despite being proficient in over seven instruments.

The private music tutor lives next to the sinkhole on Ryle Street.

An overhead shot from a still of the video. A gas pipe which runs through Peel Street and Park Lane is being exposed to the open elements, after the widening of the 15 foot sinkhole. (Image - YouTube Ally Burrows)

"I wanted to express the idea of how long this hole has been there, but with humour, because it is a very convoluted story of arguing with the council but there is humour to it," said Ally.

"I then had the idea of the song from holes point of view, bragging that it has been here for so long when the council said it would be here for two days. It has been a year, you watch time tick by it is just ridiculous"

"Nature has reclaimed the road, we've got buddleia in there and tomatoes. Among the weeds we've got a couple of trees growing there, there's definitely a maple as well.

"It is also a rat sanctuary. But if I call environmental health about the rats in the hole they said they can't go in without the railings. United Utilities have been great but also can't do anything.

"There's an open sewer, rats can go up and down into our toilet. I daren't put the seat down on my toilet incase I have rats in the bathroom that's my fear.

The 'Macclesfield Sink Hole Day 700' song has proved to be an online hit. You can listen to the popular Macc track above. This still from the video shows Luke's son Oliver. (Image - YouTube Ally Burrows)

"My dog goes out at night and it looks like he is barking at nothing. But I'm sure he's smelt or heard the [sinkhole] rats.

"The hungrier the rats get, they are going to start eating the strapping that is holding the gas main up. The hole has further eroded, now there's nothing underneath the gas pipe, it is held up with three [wooden] scaffolding planks and some strapping.

"We can't get ambulances easily to the old people and the disabled in the flats just ahead of the sinkhole. We can't get a fire engine there, if there was a fire we'd be stranded.

"The gas pipe serves the majority of the town, if there was a problem with that we'd need to evacuate a quarter of a mile radius. That's how dangerous that gas pipe is."

Lyrics include "It wouldn't be allowed in Wilmslow" and "I haven't always been mean, I started life as a street, then sank the road and broke a sewage pipe".

It was the first time Ally had ever made her own song, and her first go at video editing. She wants to let taxpayers know that the hole hasn't been fixed after 20 months.

Raw sewage was siphoned daily from June to September 2020, but this has since ceased.

Ally also claims there a stream has developed, which after heavy rain, goes straight to the Bollington Water Plant.

The two-and-a-half minute song has been reported on the BBC, at the same time of publication as this article.

"They [Cheshire East Council] had a plan to fix it in November, it became too expensive so they went for Plan B," added Ally.

"Plan B turned out to be more expensive than Plan A so Plan C is to revert back to Plan B. And they've left all the building materials there.

Ally and neighbour Ronnie pose in front of the hazardous hole which has become a 'rat hotel'.

"We have also waited patiently for a survey which happened six months ago, that we can't get the results of."

Ally tried to sell her home, but has found it futile as the hole expanded.

After countless hours a week emailing, making phone calls, and even trying a petition, the song is a last resort call to action for the hole's repair.

The only positive that has come with the hole is getting to know her neighbours better.

Neighbour Ronnie Biggar lives on Hobson Street with his wife Marjorie, who has Parkinson's.

The view looking down from Hobson Street. Posters have faded on the metal fences, and swear words have been graffitied onto road signs.

"The little lad is the star the music video, and the song is great too," said Ronnie.

"When we were filming the video, everybody passing by wondered what was going on. It looked like the saddest little boys' birthday party ever by a sinkhole," joked Ally.

"If it is still there in February, we will hold another party for it."

Ronnie added: "I said to Sam Corcoran [Cheshire East Council Leader] 'don't you think we should get some council tax rebate?'

"He said they would look into and he would like me know by the end of August, but we've heard nothing whatsoever.

Ronnie has tried and failed to get money off his council tax from the inaction of fixing the hole.

"My wife has got Parkinson's and it is getting her really worked up.

"We have no timetable for it [the repair] or anything."

A home on 18 Ryle Street even had to be demolished due to erosion underneath the house, in the same old culvert as the super sinkhole.

Cheshire East Council has said it is an "extremely complex piece of work and working hard to fix the problems".

"We are continuing to liaise with residents and local elected Members."

Rusting corrugated metal and flimsy wood holds the hole from disaster.

We have contacted them for further comment, and they issued a statement dated October 5 by Craig Browne, Cheshire East Council deputy leader.

“We are working hard to investigate the condition of the drainage system to identify how the problems can be addressed, however this work presents considerable challenges and risks.

"A number of options are being considered and we will provide details of the recommended course of action that will allow us to proceed with the work safely.

"The costs for this work will be significant with no guarantee that it would provide all of the information we require.

“The road will remain closed for safety reasons and we would like to thank the public for their patience whilst the issues are resolved.”

The borough council have created a dedicated webpage to explain their works on the site here.

Macclesfield Central Cheshire East Councillor Ashley Farrall said: "I think the song is great, [as is] anything to help publicise the issue that might push the Council and others that may be responsible to sort it out in an non-abusive way."

Some of Ally's guitar and flute students even cameo in the music video.

Ally can be booked for music lessons on a breadth of instruments. You can contact her and follow her on Facebook. She teaches Piano, flute, guitar, music theory.

Ally has been a music tutor in Macclesfield for 20 years, and has lived on Ryle Street for three years.

Ms Burrows can also play cello, mandolin, saxophone, all three of which she taught herself to play during the duration of the hole's lifetime.

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