Shaken up by outlet work
5:30am Tuesday 8th April 2014 in By Dominic Gilbert
BUSINESS owners on Rodbourne Road are becoming concerned for the safety of their properties after building works at the Outlet Centre have shaken their foundations.
Work on the £35m expansion of the outlet, with the regeneration of the Long Shop into a raft of 30 new stores, began in December, and is expected to run into next year.
But after drilling work started last week, nearby premises have seen the ground shake and owners are now worried over structural damage.
McArthur Glen and engineers from the building contractors McLaren have since met with business owners to discuss their concerns.
It comes after homeowners and businesses in Cross Street raised the alarm over subsidence at another major development in the town, at Regent Circus, which developers ISG have vowed to put right.
Kos Dickson, manager of The Sewing Shop on Rodbourne Road, said: “It is causing a lot of damage to the businesses here.
“We are seeing structural damage and cracks have started to appear.
“One of the other properties also has cracks, and on another the plaster is falling off.
“They are drilling something down there, and the tremors are incredible. They have been shaking the shop throughout the day, so we are getting quite worried. They sent some people round to speak to us and take a look at the place, including the project manager.”
Kos welcomed the visit but wants to see what will be done to prevent any further damage.
“Unfortunately we have not heard anything else from them,” she said.
“I received a letter from the council on Saturday morning, which was more like a general template explaining that with any work like this we are to expect some noise. It is not the noise we are concerned about, it is the damage to the buildings.
“It has only been going on for a few days, but after I asked some of the other traders they said their buildings had been shaking as well. Some others have had more serious damage.
“They have been starting quite early and it has been affecting business because we have had customers in.”
McArthur Glen, owners of the Outlet Centre, said investigations are now under way.
A spokesman for McArthur Glen said: “It has been reported to us that local business owners have been affected as a result of Swindon Designer Outlet’s Long Shop regeneration project.
“It is always our priority to maintain strong relationships with the local community.
“While this project is under way, we are looking to keep noise and disruption to a minimum, abiding by legislation regarding building works.
“We are investigating this matter with our building contractor and aim to seek a solution quickly for all parties.
“This is the biggest redevelopment in our history and we are confident that it will drive a positive resurgence in Swindon when the Long Shop opens its doors in March 2015.”
A spokesman for McLaren said: “McLaren always take any concerns from our neighbours very seriously. “The Senior Project Manager and Senior Site Manger visited the business owners last week. The reports of structural damage were not clearly evident; however McLaren can confirm they are employing a structural engineer to investigate the matter in more detail. “The works have not stopped. We can confirm the project is planned for completion in January 2015 and ground works adjacent to the said properties within a fortnight.
“Should anyone have any comments or further concerns then please contact the McLaren Site office on 03330770673.”
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