Around 48 residents were forced from their homes in a newly-built area of Plumstead after a large sinkhole opened up yesterday.

The deep 5mx5m sinkhole emerged outside a home in Brickfield Cottages, just off King's Highway, at around 1.45pm.

Some residents stayed overnight in a sports hall and other emergency accommodation, as authorities cordoned off the area.

London Fire Brigade said the cause of the sinkhole is still unknown, but fire crews cordoned off a 25m hazard zone as a precaution.

Hexagon Housing, the developer responsible for the houses, has confirmed that 30 of the 40 households evacuated are able to return home today.

Firefighters stayed in the area until just after 8.30pm, when the incident was left with the police and Greenwich Council officers.

The newly-built homes are on the site of former soft drinks factory Mackintosh's, which operated from 1910 until 1969.

The factory was pulled down and bought by Plumstead resident Dave Green, who used it to store his vintage lorries.

In 2012 Hexagon Housing purchased the site for a housing development.

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The sinkhole in Plumstead.

A spokesman for Greenwich Council said the local authority was alerted to the sinkhole at around 3pm, after which they worked with the emergency services and Hexagon Housing to evacuate residents at risk.

He said: "Residents were given assistance at a council rest centre and provided with overnight accommodation.

"Structural engineers are working to secure the site as a matter of urgency and residents will be allowed to return as soon as it is safe to do so. In the interim, the site is being protected with the support of local police.

"The royal borough of Greenwich would like to strongly commend the rapid response of the emergency services who worked tirelessly to ensure a smooth evacuation.

"We are now working very closely with structural engineers and Hexagon Housing to ascertain what led to this incident. The safety of the borough’s residents is an utmost priority."

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