Clearance work at Strada halted until structure is supported

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WORK on clearing the debris from the Strada restaurant has been halted after beams were found to be moving.

Engineers began work on Saturday, a week after the major fire broke out, to remove the rubble filling Bury St Edmunds’ Cupola House’s interior.

A St Edmundsbury Borough Council spokeswoman said: “As the material was cleared from above the remaining part of the first floor important structural timbers were exposed and it became apparent that the post and beams were moving. Work on shifting the debris was halted.”

The priority now is to finish the scaffolding that will protect the façade as a free standing structure, then begin to carefully dismantle the building from the top. Heavy lifting gear will return to the site on Tuesday night and on Wednesday it is planned to use the mobile crane and cage to guide the lifting gear in to cut and remove material.

One aim of the clearance work has been to allow the fire service access to the cellars so they can confirm that no pockets of fire remain. Although the rear cellars have collapsed and are filled with rubble, fire officers were able to enter the front cellars and are now making periodic inspections.

The site has now been handed over by the Fire Service to the contractors.

Regular meetings continue to be held with the businesses and residents who have been affected by the event.

Skinner Street remains closed and some businesses remain closed closed.

Nationwide Building Society and Scarlet’s shoe shop plan to open Tuesday but Sahara, Jessops and Bella Lingerie will stay closed.

Residents are being invited to contribute memories of Cupola House to create a record of the role it played in the history of the town. The memories can be personal or historical and they will be published on the borough council website.

Memories can be left at the whiteboards being staffed in the town centre, at the Tourist Information Centre or at Moyse’s Hall, or emailed to communications@stedsnc.gov.uk or posted to The Communications Unit, St Edmundsbury Borough Council, West Suffolk House, Western Way, Bury St Edmunds IP33 3YU.

For more information visit www.stedmundsbury.gov.uk