KWH Working Group Meeting with KWH: 5th June 2019
Attendees – Cllr Allan, Eian Bailey, Town Clerk
We had a very constructive meeting with Eian Bailey on 5th June. Dialogue was open and unguarded as we had hoped. We covered the following points.
- Current Application Variation
They have had 3 firms of structural engineers advise them that full demolition and re construction is the only safe option due to the poor condition of the existing footings.
These were Davis Consultants, Torsion Consult, and Scott Hughes who act as design Engineer for KWH. KWH also advised that Wyre Building Control agreed with the results of the engineers’ investigations.
We have asked for sight of the reports.
All of the reports concluded that there was no safe way to support the façade whilst further groundwork was progressed. The scaffolding was not intended to act as a support for the building and the gable ends were unstable causing some of the scaffolding to bend. That was an additional reason for KWH deciding after consultation with Wyre that they would demolish by hand down to above the 1st floor window level.
KWH did not know the extent of the ground instability until they were allowed to enter the building and drill bore holes. They were not allowed to undertake any internal bore samples inside the old building before completing on the purchase.
We also mentioned that we had noted that the bricks had been palletised and the stonework retained and that there was evidence of some damage to the bricks. KWH have planned for wastage and have assured me that they will be able to recover more than enough and that they can still obtain bricks from Accrington Brickworks if needed.
KWH have placed a container on site to store all the salvaged bricks and stonework. They have also retained the roof tiles so that they can be reused when the building is rebuilt.
We were reassured that KWH fully intended to reconstruct the façade. They have no alternative designs or plans and have not sought any.
To reinforce this commitment KWH told us that when the flats at the river side were removed as part of the developmentirms of architects were approached to design a new building that included both retail and residential elements. They ran it as a competition and the design that won has been adopted.
The instructions to these firms were clear, the Façade had to be retained and tied into any design scheme. They are determined to ensure it is rebuilt. This is an approach they have successfully used before.
KWH advised that they have lodged an appeal against the previous rejection of the Variation.
- Development Timescale and Plan
We were told that they are about 7 months behind plan. Development is expected to take about 12 months after they have approval.
The ground floor retail building will be steel framed with the first and second floors timber framed.
The plan is for a Business Use space on the ground floor behind the Facade and for either 3 or 5 retail spaces in the new building. Discussions with potential occupants are ongoing. No names can be released for commercial reasons.
- Norah Hoyles Garden and the Bloomers
It was confirmed that KWH do not own all of the land. Wyre still own the area now referred to as Norah Hoyles Garden and most of the car park. EB showed us a site plan with a red boundary around the total site and a blue boundary around the part now owned by KWH.
KWH confirmed they had contacted the Bloomers and The Bloomers have been given the site access code and can remove any plants they want to keep.
- Community Involvement
KWH are keen to engage with the community and have already established a rapport with The Bloomers.
They also would like to get the local primary schools involved to design artwork for the site hoardings.
We could facilitate this if required.
Overall the meeting was constructive with a very open dialogue. I did not detect anything but a willingness to get the job done as quickly and effectively as they could.