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5 January 2012, 11:09
Action's been taken to try and stop a listed Northampton building housing two bars from collapsing, following a massive fire.
The fire on the afternoon of Monday 2 January 2012 has caused serious structural damage to the former Angel Hotel on Bridge Street, which houses the Balloon Bar and Fat Cats bar. Very windy weather has added to the risk of collapse.
Specialist scaffolders moved onto the site on Wednesday 4 January 2012 and Northamptonshire's Fire and Rescue Service have now formally handed back control of the building to the owners. Investigators are however still trying to find out what caused the fire.
Once supporting scaffolding is put in place, Northampton Borough Council say hoardings will go up so that pedestrians and traffic can safely get by.
It's hoped work to make the site safe would be finished by Saturday 7 January, but the Council say safety is the overriding priority and the cordon around the scene can’t be removed until there is no further risk to the public.
Bridge Street is still open to pedestrians from the top and bottom, and other businesses in the street are trading and accessible on foot.
The Council say plans to ensure traffic, including buses and taxis, can move around the town once the scaffolding work is in place are being finalised and will be announced as soon as possible.
Representatives from the Council and Northamptonshire Police have spoken to the owners of other licenced premises in the area o reassure them about the arrangements being put in place and to remind them that they may need to deal with extra custom at the weekend.
Northampton Borough Council leader Cllr David Mackintosh said "We are all working as hard and as quickly as we can to make this area safe and get things moving again.
Anyone who has seen the images of the damage within this building will understand why the first priority is to make it safe from falling down.
When that is done, we will be meeting with local business leaders to discuss what we can do to make sure our night-time economy is not affected in the long term.”