21 Sep 2018
Aylesbury’s busy High Street has reopened to traffic, residents are now able to move back home and a restaurant is once again open for business, after AVDC’s specialist contractors completed emergency measures on an unstable structure where the council had to step in to stop unsafe demolition work.
The privately-owned site at 112 High Street is at the end of a terrace of homes, shops and restaurants. Concerns raised by neighbours about demolition work being carried out on the site led to inspections on 24 August by AVDC’s structural engineers, who identified that the remaining structure was at risk of collapse, as well as impacting the adjacent wall with number 110 next door, where tenants were living and the El Halal restaurant was open.
A visit at 6pm on 24 August identified that the structure had become imminently dangerous, so AVDC immediately halted the demolition and bought in specialists to start making the structure safe. Thanks to the quick response of AVDC building control staff, emergency services and county council partners, the road was closed, the tenants moved out of harm’s way and the restaurant was temporarily shut. Thousands of visitors to an event in Vale Park just across the road over the next two days were directed by the town council to other entrances to the park for their own safety.
Cllr Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Planning and Enforcement, said: “We are pleased to say that the site no longer poses a danger to the public and so this busy road in the town centre can be reopened. However what we have had to do here is not a long term solution - the responsibility for that rests with the owners of the building.
“Residents had to leave their homes, a business had to shut down temporarily and drivers and local people were inconvenienced, all of which was completely unnecessary and avoidable. There have also been considerable resources dedicated to addressing the problem by all of the partner organisations and contractors involved. We are very grateful to the public for their patience and support during this challenging period.”
“Demolition needs to be carefully and professionally carried out to prevent putting workers, the public and nearby structures at serious risk. AVDC rarely uses its our emergency powers, but as we have shown here where we identify that the safety of the public is at risk we will not hesitate to take action. Those responsible will be held to account and we will now be considering our next steps.”
Under Section 78 of the Building Act 1984 the council has emergency powers to take action to protect the safety of the public from dangerous buildings, and with the support of the Health and Safety Executive, used these powers on this occasion.