Tram works had ‘no adverse affect’ on building claim

Reporter: Robbie MacDonald
Date published: 27 February 2014

A SUBSIDING building which forced a halt to tram services in Oldham town centre could be demolished.

And questions are now being raised about whether the Metrolink construction works made the problem worse.

The disused former solicitors’ office at 69 Union Street was propped up with emergency supports on Tuesday after builders reported new problems inside. Repairs had been due to start this week, but have been thrown into doubt by the new findings.

The building’s co-owner Chris Bychowiec said: “The building is still structurally unsafe. I think it might need to be demolished but I don’t know at this stage.”

He believes the problems began with tram works at Peter Street, where a large sewer was created: “I think this agitated the foundations. It started deteriorating from that point.”

But Johnstone Bell, who owns the Megabytes takeaway next door, said: “I’ve been here for 18 years and I think 69 has had problems for about 12 years. There have been major structural problems.

“There was a similar incident 12 months ago, when there was a big panic and the road was blocked off.”

He added: “All the digging for Metrolink probably didn’t help the building next door.

Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink director, said: “We are quite satisfied that the construction of the Metrolink line had no adverse effect on this property.

“Visual inspections were carried out before work had even started and concerns were raised then. Specialist monitoring equipment was set up to check for movement, but no adverse effect was recorded.”