A huge sinkhole has opened up on the seafront at Lee Bay near Ilfracombe.

The collapsed road on the seafront at Lee Bay, near Ilfracombe. Picture: Pat CoatesThe collapsed road on the seafront at Lee Bay, near Ilfracombe. Picture: Pat Coates

The road surface has collapsed into a void where the stream runs on to the beach, just past the derelict Lee Bay Hotel.

Pedestrians can get through but it is impassable to vehicles.

The collapse broke the water main and although water has been restored to most of Lee, those properties beyond the hole - going out of the village away from Ilfracombe – are still without water.

Ilfracombe town councillor Pat Coates said the water was off when she woke at 7am and a quick burst of WhatsApp chat confirmed others were cut off too.

The collapsed road on the seafront at Lee Bay, near Ilfracombe. Picture: Pat CoatesThe collapsed road on the seafront at Lee Bay, near Ilfracombe. Picture: Pat Coates

South West Water confirmed there was a burst water main and asked if villagers could find the location – but it soon became immediately obvious.

Cllr Coates said: “There was this massive sinkhole, where the stream flows through the village, under the road and into the sea.

“We have had minor problems with it before and there has been minor patching and bits of work but never anything like that.”

She said South West Water was working on a temporary solution to get water to those who were currently cut off.

The Lee Bay Hotel. The road has collapsed just past the derelict building. Picture: Tony GussinThe Lee Bay Hotel. The road has collapsed just past the derelict building. Picture: Tony Gussin

Update 2.30pm: Devon County Council has said it has introduced an emergency road closure and diversion after the breach of the wall created a large void in the structure and washed out a section of the road.

The county council said it would be carrying out repairs as soon as possible and temporary protection will be installed in the interim.