Su­per­mar­ket re­opens months af­ter arson at­tack

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Shop News - By Aidan Bar­low

Staff at a su­per­mar­ket which was gut­ted in an arson at­tack say they are look­ing for­ward to mov­ing back in to the ren­o­vated store this week­end.

Tesco Ex­press at Mill Court, near Mace Lane, Ash­ford, was dev­as­tated by a blaze in March, af­ter an ar­son­ist set fire to goods at the back of the build­ing. Flames spread to the roof and in­side the su­per­mar­ket, and melted the steel gird­ers to the point where the build­ing was not struc­turally safe. The su­per­mar­ket was then closed along with the neigh­bour­ing Pay­dens Phar­macy shop.

Staff were told they would be switched back to the town cen­tre store while the re­pair works were car­ried out to the build­ing.

Con­trac­tors first had to clear the rub­ble of the for­mer store, start­ing by re­mov­ing the roof tiles in April.

Stock in­side was also re­moved in the same month, then in the sum­mer they be­gan work to cut through the steel gird­ers.

In Oc­to­ber new steel was ap­plied. Now the roof has been re­stored and signs placed around the store.

Shift leader Ge­orgina Austen said staff are ea­ger for the re­open­ing at 10am on Satur­day.

She said: “We are ex­cited and can’t wait to work there again. It seems so long now since the fire. The ma­jor­ity of the staff worked in the town cen­tre store, so we are still to­gether.

“But Mace Lane was our home. We have staff who have worked there for a long time, so it has been dif­fi­cult not know­ing when we would fi­nally be back there.”

Police say no ar­rests were made fol­low­ing the fire, de­spite an ex­ten­sive in­quiry. Spokesman Amanda Wills said: “A num­ber of lines of in­quiry were pur­sued, in­clud­ing house to house, foren­sics, CCTV and a me­dia ap­peal for wit­nesses. Any­one who does have in­for­ma­tion about the fire is asked to call us or Crimestop­pers.”

The police crime line is 01843 222289, crime can also be re­ported anony­mously to Crimestop­pers on 0800 555 111. The in­ci­dent ref­er­ence for the case is ZY/12485/17.

Pic­tures: Steve Sal­ter, Andy Clark, Aidan Bar­low

Then and now: Top, the fire-dam­aged Tesco Ex­press at Mill Court, off Mace Lane, Ash­ford; above, work­ing on the re­build and the store now, ready for its re­open­ing this week­end

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.