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.
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