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Collapse fear halts trams

Reporter: Robbie MacDonald
Date online: 26 February 2014

TRAM services were disrupted through Oldham town centre for several hours yesterday amid fears over the safety of an empty building on Union Street.

Oldham Central and King Street tram stations were closed and the junction of Union Street and Peter Street sealed off over concerns about the state of a former law firm office.

Builders were due to start repairs at the disused former Jacksons Solicitors office, which has a large crack running down its outside gable-end, but the work was halted when builders found other structural problems.

Passengers travelling into Oldham from Failsworth and Manchester had to get off at Westwood station while others travelling from Shaw and Rochdale had to get off at Mumps. Trams services resumed at around 6pm.

John Noone, a consultant structural engineer based in Queen Street, Oldham, checked the building with owner Chris Bychowiec.

He said: “The building was due to be repaired this week but unfortunately there has been further movement to the interior. Builders reported this to the owner, who contacted Oldham Council.

Mr Noone said the empty office had been unoccupied for 10 years and the crack had been there for years.

Mr Bychowiec said building repair had been due to start following lengthy talks with insurers, but now builders are assessing what they will be able to do safely until a highways engineeer can check ove the site.

Comments

The buses that used to go on that route could have made a diversion to still get their passengers to their destination - no more need to be said !

knock it down.

It is a pity they could not have left the line from Mumps station open as a alternative for when there is a incident in the town.

So much for any surveying done prior to building the tramway , they should ask for the money back .

Proves how fragile the street running line is.

Same thing will happen if there is a building fire, traffic accident or numerous other problems which could force the closure of Union Street.

Trams trapped North of Oldham have no way out which is why they should have kept the tunnel route open as an alternative in case of events such as this.

This row of shops from the then planned central stop to King St was newly designated as Oldhams "central retail core" in Oldham Councils published Metrolink plans. Smoke and mirrors cannot hide how long many of these old premises have been vacant and the structural damage risks inherent from both humans, vermin and external construction.

 

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