The owners of two buildings which partially collapsed in the centre of a West Cork town have been ordered to demolish the damaged structures and make them safe.
Cork County Council confirmed the move yesterday as it announced it is extending the closure period of Bandon’s Oliver Plunkett St until March 11 following last December’s collapse.
The council warned it may have to extend the closure period further, pending progress on the demolition and on making the area safe.
The local authority closed part of the street on December 10 after concerns were raised about the condition of privately-owned buildings on the street.
Scaffolding had been erected at the front of the three-storey terraced buildings and there was mounting concern that the structures presented a serious risk to public safety.
In the early hours of the following morning, a large part of the front facade of the buildings collapsed onto the road below.
Even though the incident occurred at around 2am, the council said the road closure was a very important action that prevented falling debris from injuring people walking on the street or travelling past in vehicles. Since the incident, the council said it has been working with the property owners who are responsible for the buildings to ensure the area is safe and so that public access to roads and footpaths can be restored as early as possible.
However, given the complexity of the situation, the council said it has invoked statutory powers which involved serving notice on the owners of the properties at numbers 2 and 3 Oliver Plunkett St to require them to demolish and make safe the dangerous buildings.
“The properties affected by the collapsed section of wall are in private ownership but the council is committed to bringing about an early solution so that the road can be reopened to traffic and pedestrians,” the local authority said. “Until this is achieved, the council must ensure that appropriate safety measures are in place to protect the public from rubble and falling debris.”
With the road closure period extended, the council said it will continue to work with the property owners to get the road reopened as soon as possible.
However, it said the speed at which the council will be able to reopen the road will be “very much determined by the level of co-operation and action of the owners of the properties” who, the council said, are primarily responsible for ensuring the demolition and safety of the properties.
“The risk that the damaged buildings pose to public safety must be addressed before a full or partial opening of the road is considered,” the council said.
“The situation is under constant review and any steps necessary to protect the public or progress the demolition will be prioritised as a matter of course.”