Dramatic images as NI town centre property collapses

It was a case of going, going, gone for an unstable building in a Co Armagh town centre yesterday.

Monday, 23rd August 2021, 3:22 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd August 2021, 10:11 pm
The building in Tandragee town centre came down on Sunday evening

Market Street in Tandragee was closed off for most of the day as an end of row property showed signs that it was ready to fall down.

The PSNI received a call from someone passing through the town centre, who’d spotted the damage in the early hours of yesterday morning, and took action to keep people away from the crumbling building.

A huge horizontal crack had appeared across the derelict property which had not been occupied for more than 10 years.

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Collapsing building in Tandragee town centre

The News Letter understands its last use was as a car parts business, a different auto company to that which operates in the neighbouring entry.

The owner of one nearby business said: “It came as a shock. No one saw it coming.”

Local councillor Paul Berry was concerned about the businesses that had to be closed yesterday as the main town centre route was cordoned off due to the partial collapse and also for the inconvenience to road users.

When the building came down later that evening under the careful eye of contractors, the councillor said he was hopeful the site could be secured and businesses could return to normal.

The scene on Sunday night in Market Street in Tandragee town centre

Mr Berry said: “It could have been an awful lot worse. Imagine that had happened on a weekday when people were in the town going about their business. It’s a busy part of the town.”

He said concerns had been raised at council about the state of the private property and those concerns were justified given what happened.

As of today the neighbouring property – The Bounty chip shop – remained closed.

“We will we await the advice from the PSNI and the council as to when we will be able to re-open,” they said.

PSNI said Market Street had fully re-opened this morning though Mr Berry said temporary traffic lights are expected to be in place soon.

DUP’s Gareth Wilson said Market Street was to close again this evening: “I understand from discussions with the Director of Building Control at ABC Council that Market Street will have to be closed again this evening after 5pm.

“This is due to the risk associated with passing HGV traffic transmitting vibrations to the premises and then the added risk of other structures being undermined.

“This will be a temporary measure and will be monitored by the PSNI. I have been assured that work will continue in earnest tomorrow in terms of further securing the building and neighbouring property.

“This of course is all in the interests of public safety and whilst the disruption is difficult and unwanted I hope that contractors can bring this project to a successful conclusion as quickly as possible.”

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