Town centre brought to a standstill after 15-foot sinkhole opens up in street - almost swallowing up cars A busy town centre was brought to a standstill this afternoon after a mysterious 15-foot sinkhole opened up in the road without warning – almost swallowing a number of cars in the process.  Motorists had to swerve out of the way of the giant hole after it appeared on the residential Earl Street in Northampton at around 2pm, just hours after part of a London pavement collapsed, swallowing a pedestrian. Shocking pictures show the gaping chasm – which was around eight foot (2.4 metres) wide – with a section of surrounding road also looking on the verge of collapse. Police quickly closed off Earl Street, causing traffic chaos and leaving locals without water following damage to a water main. A barmaid from the Charles Bradlaugh pub, opposite the hole, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘We saw it from inside the pub. ‘It was weird. It just collapsed but it gave way really slowly. It was gradual. ‘I am not at all sure why it happened. It was really strange.’ Eyewitness Matthew Green, 24, was in the pub when he heard a loud bang. He said: ‘I was just having a drink with my mate when there was this loud crashing noise. ‘I thought there had been an accident but when I went outside, I saw the road had collapsed. ‘The hole is massive. It must nearly cover half of the width of the whole road. ‘Police were here pretty quick but cars had to swerve out of the way until we went out and stopped them. MORE