A woman was taken to hospital after falling through a sinkhole outside a cafe in Fulham on Thursday morning.
Initial reports that a mother and a child had tumbled through the ground were later dismissed.
The woman, thought to be in her 40s, was taken to hospital as a precaution but is not thought to be have been seriously injured.
Nearby stall holders claimed paving outside had been sagging over time and had resulted in a dispute between the cafe owner and Hammersmith and Fulham Council over who was responsible for the problem.
Speaking about the shocking fall, witness Paul Smith, 28, said: “Someone had fallen through - just like a trapdoor.
"It’s crazy - there is a huge hole in the floor and someone has fallen through the pavement.
“It is about a metre wide and about eight foot deep.
"I couldn’t see inside to see if it was a man or a woman but it was a person and the police were all around.
“I was just walking to work and I saw it - it’s shocking.
"There was lots of members of the public surrounding it.
“I tried to get closer with my phone but the police pushed me away - they weren’t messing.”
People working on the market stalls opposite said a small hole had opened up BEFORE the women fell and concerned staff at Marrakech Express had placed tables and chairs to corner it off.
A florist, who did not wish to be named, claimed: “My husband said a man walked past and tripped over and sprained his ankle.
"There was a small hole in the ground. The manager at the cafe put some chairs and tables around it to corner it off.
“Then a woman came along with a trolley and moved them out of the way to walk through. A guy shouted at her not but it was too late, she’d fallen through.”
Another stall holder who heard the commotion said: “By the time we’d run across the road she was getting back on her feet.
“She fell into their cellar, luckily enough she was alright.”
A spokeswoman for Hammersmith and Fulham said its people had been on-site to make safe the area but that responsibility lay with the cafe.
A spokeswoman said: “The council’s structural engineer has carried out an initial investigation of the basement collapse in North End Road and secured the site.
"The freeholder of the property is legally responsible for the structural integrity of their basement but we are carrying out a full review of what’s happened and will ensure the site is made safe and all necessary actions are taken once we have a full understanding of how this occurred.
"We have no reports of a problem with the pavement before the basement collapsed. We will serve a notice on the owner to carry out repairs to our satisfaction before reopening the footway."
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “Officers and London ambulance attended, a woman was taken to west London hospital. There are no other reported injuries and no reports of child involved.
“Officers left scene and the local council are on site.”