People evacuated from their homes after a gas leak led to the discovery of a gaping sinkhole may have to wait "several weeks" in wintry temperatures before they are reconnected.

Around 120 people from 50 homes in the Malvern Road area in Maida Vale and Kilburn were given just half an hour to grab their belongings at around 4.50pm last Thursday (January 4).

Engineers trying to to stem a gas leak from a ruptured main had found a hole four metres wide and four metres deep caused by a leaking waste water main.

Five days later and with temperatures hovering above freezing, some have still not returned home while others are without a gas supply.

Brent Council has claimed that from today (January 9), residents are allowed to return to their properties.

Brent & Kilburn Times: Fire services at the sceneFire services at the scene (Image: London Fire Brigade)

However complicated repair works for the gas and water main means that some properties on Malvern Mews will not have a gas supply until the work is complete.

Brent Council has estimated that this will be for the “foreseeable future” and could take “several weeks”, but Thames Water – which has taken over the site to fix the sinkhole damage – is adamant that the sewer repair will be complete “over the coming week”.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We received reports of a sink hole on Malvern Road on Friday 5 January. Our engineers attended the same day where a broken sewer pipe and gas pipe were identified.  

“To ensure safety of the public and our teams, the local gas supplier began work to repair the gas main over the weekend and we will take over the site to repair the sewer today. Work is expected to be completed over the coming week.  

“We are liaising closely with our contractors, the gas supplier and the local authority to resolve the issue and quickly and safely as possible and we are sorry to residents for any disruption caused during this time.”

Once Thames Water has finished its side of repairing the damage, it is understood further repairs will need to be conducted to restore the gas line.

Cadent is arranging for fan heaters, hot plates and electric blankets for residents who have returned to their properties and do not have gas – all of which should be handed out today (January 9).

One resident without gas, Simon Wookey, said he had to cancel work meetings to sort out warm accommodation and complained about the lack of communication from Thames Water on how long the repair could take.

Brent Council said: “If you are back in your home and need further support, please contact Cadent customer services 0808 1788078.”