BANGOR city centre buildings destroyed in a “catastrophic fire” more than a year ago will be demolished next week.
Large sections of Bangor’s High Street have been closed off to traffic after a fire broke out above a Japanese noodle restaurant in December 2019
The fire caused extensive structural damage to Noodle One and Morgan’s clothes shop next door, with both buildings being held up by scaffolding, ever since.
A section of the High Street between the city’s cathedral and the Varsity Bar has been closed off ever since.
Plans to demolish the buildings were submitted and approved last spring by Gwynedd Council. The delay in work starting was partly due to the need to squeeze in a 200-tonne crane to carry out some of the work.
But the council has now announced that a 13-week project will start next week to first strengthen the road structure to allow the subsequent demolition of the already wrecked buildings.
Starting on Monday and expected to take seven weeks, the first phase will see the strengthening of the road in order to support the crane.
Once that is in place the second phase, expected to take another six weeks, will see the demolition of the buildings and allow the eventual re-opening of the road.
The council’s head of environment Dafydd Wyn Williams said:
“We fully acknowledge the impact and disruption this situation has caused to local residents and traders.
“I am therefore very pleased that we have reached a situation where work can now begin on the site, with a view of re-opening this section of the High Street to traffic as soon as possible.
“We will be asking for updates and greater certainty on the timetable as the work progresses.”
John Evans from Engineers EWP working on behalf of the building owners added:
“We are now in a position to commence further preparations to undertake the demolition of the two properties with work starting on site next week.
“We would like to thank insurers, local residents and businesses, services providers, Bangor City Council and Gwynedd Council for their cooperation and assistance in enabling this work to commence.
“The condition and position of the fire-damaged properties, poor ground conditions and congested services have necessitated significant investigation and risk mitigation measures to be put in place.
“We will be in close contact with Gwynedd Council throughout the works to update on progress.”
Both buildings had to be demolished because of the risk of a “potential collapse”.
Council officers acknowledged the ongoing road closure was of “ great concern to local business”.
Welcoming the development, in a joint statement Arfon MP Hywel Williams and MS Sian Gwenllian said: “‘We are very pleased to see work starting at long last.
“We have been pressing for months for the work to begin, working alongside County and City Councillors and the Mayor of Bangor to push things forward. We hope the work progresses swiftly.
“Local businesses and high street trade have suffered significant disruption over the past year. They now need our full support.”