UK Fury over demolition of luxury block marketed as being in 'Uptown Manchester' last minute news
MetiNews.Com - It will require a partial demolition of ten-storey concrete tower - just metres from an estate of around 70 houses and a busy stretch of the inner ring road
Breaking News ! Residents have accused both Salford Council and a developer of ignoring their safety concerns over the demolition of a luxury tower block on the edge of the city centre. Property Alliance Group (PAG) was forced to halt the construction of 'Uptown Manchester' - a cluster of three blocks of around 150 apartments on the banks of the River Irwell - last month due to 'engineering issues'. In a statement, PAG did not offer any further detail on the nature of the problem, but said it will require a partial demolition of the 'roof structure' of a ten-storey concrete core that is already in place. Salford Council said in a statement the building is 'structurally unsound', though this it understood PAG believes this is not an accurate description and much of the building can be retained. Read More Related Articles City centre ring road closed all week for demolition of 'unsafe' luxury tower block in 'Uptown Manchester' Contractors fenced off the site that sits only metres from a busy stretch of the inner ring road at Trinity Way and around 70 houses in the Irwell Riverside development to the rear, and began pulling bits off from the top over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Residents say the first they knew of demolition work beginning was heavy machinery rolling through the estate early on a Sunday morning. The work then paused for several weeks but is due to resume this week and will require Trinity Way to be closed off between Blackfriars Road in Salford and Great Ducie Street from 9.30am and 3.30pm for five days. A number of residents have been evacuated to hotels amid reports that a 50m 'exclusion zone' is in place. The demolition work will require Trinity Way to be closed for a week (Image: Manchester Evening News) Despite its branding, the site is in Salford and the local authority has a legal obligation under the Building Act 1984 to enforce regulations around demolition. However, residents claim Salford Council has had little involvement in the process so far, and claim they have had to seek reassurances directly from the developer themselves. "The council don't seem to be engaging," said one resident, who asked not to be named. "We're paying council tax every single month, you would've thought that covers things like this. "The council doesn't care. "Is this demolition safe? For Trinity Way? For residents? For the river? "It's all a bit of a mess." A crane begins ripping off the roof structure of the 10-storey tower block (Image: Manchester Evening News) In response, Salford Council said in a statement that it is the contractor's responsibility 'to decide the appropriate method and to carry out the demolition safely'. Read More Related Articles 110 schools across Greater Manchester now have confirmed Covid cases as thousands of pupils self-isolate Read More Related Articles People desperate for Coronavirus tests are turning up at 'very busy' Bolton Hospital A&E However, the authority said they 'aware' of residents' concerns and are 'liaising' with PAG 'to ensure these are addressed.' That claim is disputed by at several Irwell Riverside residents spoken to by the M.E.N in the past two days who say they've heard virtually nothing from council officials. It is understood residents, particularly those who are adjacent to the site, have a long list of concerns around the demolition and complained about a lack of information from either PAG or Salford Council. The council confirmed a building demolition notice has been lodged - but and none of the residents the M.E.N spoke to had seen a copy. Primarily, residents say they are worried about how such a tall building can be demolished from the top without the risk of bits falling onto their properties. Residents have expressed fears of debris falling onto their homes (Image: Manchester Evening News) This led to a discussion about whether residents should be evacuated or not. When the M.E.N first reported on the problem two weeks ago, Steve Coen, councillor for Irwell Riverside, suggested their should be an exclusion zone and homes at the gable end evacuated. "My primary concern is that the work is carried out safely," Cllr Coen said. "It's a very tricky demolition from what I can see. An artist's impression of how the 'Uptown Manchester' should look like (Image: uptownmanchester.com) "I'm not entirely sure how they will do it." Residents claim since then there has been a confusion from developer PAG over whether they will be evacuated or not.
.E.N, a letter was sent out that specified only a small number of properties nearest to the site would need to be vacated once work started on Monday. But on Monday afternoon, PAG staff were going door to door on Sandywell Lane telling residents they needed to leave, it was claimed. "There's a complete breakdown in communication," the resident said. "There's people with children, there's people who had to run home from work to find out what's happening. "It's just not fair."
Around 150 apartments are to be built over three tower blocks
The M.E.N understands residents have now sought own legal advice via firm in Birmingham and sent a request for the demolition work to be halted until they have had reassurances around safety. Among their concerns, is what assurances they have as to whether the demolition could cause long-term structural damage to their homes, and what financial recourse they have if it does. Another resident added: "We would like to see this development finished as soon as possible so we are not living next to a building site. "The biggest issue we have is, they've not gone about it in a way that fills us with confidence that they know what they're doing. "When they communicate with us, they say one thing and then change their mind. "Different members of the company say different things day by day. "The communication has been appalling." What Property Alliance Group (PAG) says: A spokesperson said: "Specialist equipment was delivered to site during the August bank holiday weekend so that it could be safely and securely stored ahead of any potential demolition work. "We have kept Salford City Council fully informed of all activity taking place on site and have been consulting with representatives of the local residents committee. "Letters were hand delivered to people’s homes informing them of our plans and we have provided contact details for key staff members, including our chairman, so that if anyone has any concerns they can speak to us directly at any time. "We would like to reiterate that the issues at Uptown have not been caused by contractor workmanship but an engineering design issue. "We have been working with engineering specialists who have confirmed the structure is safe and we are now developing a solution that should enable the core to remain, avoiding [a complete] demolition. "We have fully complied with all regulatory requirements, including submitting all appropriate notices to Salford City Council.
Property Alliance Group says the structure is 'safe'
(Image: Manchester Evening News)
"It is our understanding that there are two residents who have sought legal advice. Our priority is the safety of the local community so we will continue to keep residents informed and reassure them that we will not be carrying out any work that risks their safety. "When it was brought to our attention that there were specific concerns about the possibility of falling debris, works were halted and our chairman visited residents in their homes on Sunday, 13 September to discuss the matter personally and address any concerns as safety has been our priority at all times. "Following consultation with residents, we offered them the option of moving to a local hotel while some of the work takes place. "This option was discussed in person with residents on 14 and 15 September. All queries and concerns were addressed and those residents who needed to move – and wished to move - have now done so. "We have agreed with the representatives of the residents committee to provide a comprehensive report that addresses all concerns raised, including vibration monitoring. "We would like to stress that we do not expect any neighbouring homes to be affected by the construction work. "In the unlikely event that any damage does occur to these properties during construction, we will aim to resolve the issue within five days and we have reassured homeowners of our commitment to rectify all issues as efficiently and safely as possible." What Salford Council says: Councillor Derek Antrobus, lead member for planning and sustainable development, said: “It is the responsibility of any contractor demolishing a building to decide the appropriate method and to carry out the demolition safely, taking all impacts on neighbours, roads and footpaths into account. That responsibility also includes evacuating residents if required and communicating with people who are directly affected. “In this instance we are aware of residents’ concerns and are supporting them by liaising with the contractors to ensure these are addressed.”