A DEEP "sinkhole" has suddenly appeared at a public garden in the city centre.

The hole, said to be roughly half a metre deep, appeared in Old Steine Gardens in Brighton.

It has been surrounded with fencing, with the council working with Southern Water to investigate.

The cause of the hole is currently unknown.

The Argus:

It comes around a week after the dismantling of the Brighton Christmas Festival, which saw funfair rides and a 50-foot big wheel installed at the gardens over the festive period.

Gary Farmer, founder of the Old Steine Community Association, said that while he expected some damage in the aftermath of the festival, he was surprised to see a hole appear at the gardens.

He told The Argus: "Everyone I have spoken to is concerned about what it is and how it got there.

"It's as if someone has dug an open grave in the Old Steine and ring-fenced it and walked away."

Mr Farmer previously told how the gardens had been been left looking like a "Siberian gulag" after the festival finished, with a "quagmire of mud, water, tyre tracks, broken branches, destroyed plants and trenches".

The Conservatives are now calling for the event to be moved to Madeira Drive next year,

Councillor Dee Simson said: "A lot of damage has been caused to the Old Steine Gardens, including what looks like a sinkhole that has suddenly appeared along with other visible depressions in the soil around the Victoria Fountain.

"The council really needs to look at whether this is a suitable environment for major events during the winter months and whether the ground is stable enough to take heavy equipment."

In an email to Mr Farmer shared with The Argus, a spokeswoman for Cityparks said that the hole has been "secured".

She said: "Our premises team are leading and are working with Southern Water to survey.

"We cannot be sure of the cause at this time."

The council and the organisers of the festival have been approached for comment.

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