Updates on Colliers Wood Tower (Britannia Point)
Friday 1 July at 4.30pm
Good progress has been made again on the building today, with the abseil inspection now well underway. As per our update last night, additional cracks have been found in some panes of glass, so those areas have had to be made safe, and the work on canopy covers is continuing – resident access areas are all now safe.
One glass panel has been sheeted over, and some others have been taped – on most, the cracks are on the internal sheet of glass, which doesn’t pose the same risk as the external sheets.
On the side facing the A24, work needs to be done to make a first floor window safe. The protective canopy that is being constructed around the building will inevitably take up some of the road lane. We will therefore be putting traffic management in place to avoid closing this busy road, but the reduction of a lane and the introduction of a traffic management system is likely to be required.
The closures and barriers we advised you of last night remain in place, and over the weekend we hope to be able to pull these back or remove them as further progress is made.
However, the abseil team has not yet managed to complete the side of the building facing Christchurch Road. Unfortunately, this means the exclusion zone must remain in place until we can be satisfied that side of the building has either been cleared as safe, or that necessary actions are in place to make an panels safe as required.
This means we cannot yet re-open Christchurch Road, which unfortunately does mean the businesses that have had to shut will remain closed. We are however on site and talking to businesses – in particular, we are exploring a way to maintain the exclusion zone while allowing some access along the shop fronts for people to access the Post Office, as it is used by some local residents for vital services such as the collect pensions.
Friday 1 July at 8am
Further safety testing on the glazing was undertaken yesterday and we can confirm that further cracks have been identified on another pane of glass. Inspections stopped last night due to the wind conditions, but work is resuming at 8am today.
As a further precautionary measure; we extended the safety cordon around the site last night as follows:
- We have put barriers around the Piazza and Christchurch Road, closing the road off.
- The cordon extends to the footway on the east side of Christchurch Rd (including the shopping area).
- The pathway is also closed to the public, but will remain open for residents access only (those living directly above the shops)
- Businesses will be notified that they should also close; and will be informed when it is safe to re-open. We are already in contact with local businesses.
- Colliers Wood Underground Station will remain accessible, as per our earlier communications.
- There will be no pedestrian access to Christchurch Rd (north of Colwood Gardens) and no pedestrian access from Christchurch Road to South Gardens.
Vehicle and emergency access:
- There will be no access to South Gardens from Christchurch Road.
- Residents in South Gardens, North Gardens and Valley Gardens will be able to enter and exit via Valley Gardens at Colliers Wood High Street.
- The bollards on Valley Gardens will be opened for vehicles.
- School staff will be able to access Singlegate Primary via Valley Gardens
- Parents and children walking to school; should access South Gardens via Valley Gardens or Colliers Wood Rec – Christchurch Rd will be inaccessible
- Driving to school is discouraged, but if absolutely necessary, access will be via Valley Gardens.
- South Gardens at Christchurch Road will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians.
Thursday 30 June at 3pm
Good progress has been made overnight with the covers over the resident entrance, and we now expect to have the entire outer edge of the building covered by Monday morning. This will allow us to remove the existing barriers and re-open Christchurch Road to traffic, while ensuring the safety of passers-by and building residents. It also means businesses can open as usual on Monday (Co-Op is still open at present).
In order to complete this work as quickly as possible, there will be some disruption and overnight work.
The abseil inspection is currently underway, and this will identify any further issues the windows on the building.
We will continue to have a 24-hour presence on site across the weekend to advise and assist residents.
Further inspections have been carried out today, and the council has met again this afternoon with partners including fire, police, and representatives from Criterion Capital who manage the building, as well as a glass specialist with experience of these types of installations.
Wednesday 29 June at 8.30pm
Tomorrow morning, an abseil inspection will begin on the building, led by Criterion Capital. Every pane of glass will be inspected for any issues, and the technical marking on each window will allow Criterion to understand the origin of each pane and determine the next steps on any replacement work.
However, keeping residents safe while this happens is our top priority. To ensure this we have worked together to agree some further immediate actions:
- We have left an area un-barriered to allow residents access to the building, and one for access to the Co-Op. To be truly safe these areas need to be covered – and the priority must of course be the resident entrance.
- This evening contractors will be on site to erect a temporary hard cover over the entrance area. This will ensure all residents are safe as they use the walkway to enter and leave.
- We will also be looking to extend this temporary covering along the Co-Op side of the building. As this will take longer, we will need to move the barrier further out to the edge of the pavement. This means the Co-Op will need to close until the second cover is installed, but it will be the next priority once the entrance is secured.
- To ensure residents are reassured and informed, the council will be placing two officers on site throughout the night tonight, who can answer any questions and be a point of contact should it be required.