De­mo­li­tion due af­ter build­ing fire

Traders hit by seven-month road clo­sure

Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser - - News - Ju­dith Ton­ner

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.”

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