BANGOR high street has finally reopened to vehicles 18 months on from a devastating fire.
Firefighters were called to a fire in a flat above a Japanese restaurant in December 2019, which resulted in a section between the city’s cathedral and the Varsity bar remaining closed off to all traffic since due to the need for temporary scaffolding on the street to keep both standing.
With both Noodle One and the neighbouring Morgan’s clothes shop having suffered extensive damage, both buildings were later razed to the ground after being described as “in a significantly unsafe condition” and “in risk of imminent collapse.”
But 18 months on, today (Wednesday) saw the full reopening of Wales’ longest high street, much to the delight of many traders after a frustrating year and a half.
Cllr Steve Collings, the local county councillor for the Deniol ward, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Obviously it’s brilliant that it’s reopened at last and will be a badly needed boost for the businesses on that part of the high street.
“It was such bad timing to have a small natural disaster like that in a difficult to access part of the high street just before the pandemic has made things a nightmare for businesses on the other side.
“It’s fair to say that they would have struggled an awful lot more were it not for the business closures everywhere, with the inadequate but still useful financial aid that came with the coronavirus lockdowns.
“Having said that, things wouldn’t have taken anywhere near as long to reopen had it not been for the pandemic, it has been very very difficult.”
With engineers EWP working on behalf of the building owners, the crane completed its work at the end of April, with the scaffolding later lowered as the buildings began to come down.
Dafydd Wyn Williams, Gwynedd Council’s Head of Environment, said: “I wish to thank local residents and traders for their patience and understanding throughout this difficult period regarding the situation with 164 and 166 High Street, Bangor.
“I also wish to extend my thanks to EWP engineering and all the partners involved in this complex work.”