Shropshire Star

Experts recommend 'unsafe' buildings on Coalbrookdale AGA site are demolished

Plans to demolish buildings at an “unsafe” former manufacturing site in Coalbrookdale have been lodged with Telford & Wrekin Council.

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Applicants Shropshire Homes says former industrial structures at the derelict former AGA Rayburn foundry works are in poor condition, and has applied to demolish them.

The AGA manufacturing works closed down in 2017, bringing to an end more than 300 years of industrial history of various types on the site.

Last month, a scheme for 101 homes on the site was backed for approval by Telford & Wrekin Council, but the decision is set to go to the planning inspectorate for a final decision, due to the length of time taken to determine the application.

Now, Shropshire Homes says structures on the site are in danger of collapse, and that wind gusts could carry sheeting and loose debris and pose a danger to the public.

“The industrial buildings that remain on the site since it was vacated in 2017 are in a dangerous condition. These include dangers from full or partial collapse of entire structures and from loose sheeting and debris that could travel large distances when removed by wind gusts,” said a report by structural consultants CoxBaker.

“In view of the potential dangers and the difficulty in securing the site, we recommend that all of the industrial buildings that are present and described above are demolished down to ground floor slab levels.”

A demolition method statement submitted by the developer also makes reference to asbestos removal works required as part of a potential decommissioning of the site, with asbestos cement roofing tiles present in some areas.

Due to the site’s topography, the applicant says it is difficult to keep out intruders, and that the decaying structures on the site would pose a danger to surveyors and visitors.

The statement says: “Although vacant, the site requires periodic access for security purposes and for visitors accessing the site to carry out survey works and investigations into the proposed redevelopment of the site. The site also attracts various unwanted visitors for nefarious purposes including theft and ‘urban exploration’.

“The level of security to fully protect the site would require the type of installation and resources usually reserved for military or detention sites etc and is therefore inappropriate.”

A decision on the demolition plans will be made by Telford & Wrekin Council in due course.