Demolition due after building fire
Traders hit by seven-month road closure
A fire- damaged building which has forced the closure of a Coatbridge street for more than seven months is now due to be demolished.
Owners of the properties housed in the building on the corner of Main Street and Academy Street in the town centre are reported to have reached agreement on its future, with engineers working on details of how and when the building will be knocked down.
Details were reported in response to a petition from business owners, submitted to councillors on North Lanarkshire’s enterprise and housing committee.
Traders criticised the “totally unacceptable” length of closure, saying that footfall and deliveries are being adversely affected by the exclusion zone barriers at the junction – but have now been told that “it is understood the owners have now reached agreement”.
Coatbridge North representative Allan Stubbs, who supported the traders in presenting their case, said: “It’s a positive outcome and just a case now of when –hopefully it will be resolved without any delay and the road reopened.
“I think the traders’ petition has had an impact; and there should be measures put in place to stop there being an impact on the economy in situations like this.”
The affected building was destroyed by fire in March. Council staff took the required safety action by putting in place the exclusion zone and road closure, but told the committee: “Responsibility for ensuring the safe condition of any building lies with [its] owners.”
A report continued: “Building standards staff were in negotiation with the numerous owners, their loss adjusters and agents; [and] it was established that the title deeds, ownership and responsibilities were complicated and unclear.
“It is understood the owners have now reached agreement. A solution to enable this demolition to take place is being developed by the owners’ consultant engineers.”
Petitioners had called for demolition by the council, and criticised a lack of communication.
The report added: “If demolition were enforced by the authority, this may be viewed as acting beyond what was deemed reasonable and may [be] open to legal challenge.
“The primary responsibility for the building rests with the owners, but ... as soon as details of the demolition have been confirmed, a factsheet will be provided.”
Affected business owners told the Advertiser last month that while their units on Academy Street and Main Street are open as usual, customer visits and deliveries are being impacted by the lack of traffic access at the junction, and closure of one pavement.
Petition organiser Cliff Kesley of cafe Granny’s Kitchen, said: “Footfall reduced 20 to 25 per cent in the first two weeks; this street has taken the brunt of the closure.”