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Westlegate reopens as businesses slam management

PUBLISHED: 16:17 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:06 21 March 2019

Westlegate has reopened as businesses blame the management of the cladding drama. Picture: Archant

Westlegate has reopened as businesses blame the management of the cladding drama. Picture: Archant

Archant

Westlegate has reopened to the public, much to the relief of the business owners on the street.

Warings Lifestore have said it took matters into its own hands. Picture: ArchantWarings Lifestore have said it took matters into its own hands. Picture: Archant

The road was shut after a chunk of cladding fell from Westlegate Tower during 60mph winds last week.

The road was barricaded off for the public’s own safety, and security was hired yesterday to ensure that people didn’t ignore the barriers or dismantle them to find a way through.

But today a permanent walkway has been opened down the side of the road, allowing footfall to flow freely.

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Waring’s Lifestore is one of the businesses which had been forced to shut as a result of the cladding drama.

Like other tenants on the street, owners of the café have criticised Watsons, the managers of Westlegate Tower.

Julie Edney is one of the directors at the business, and said that they weren’t adequately informed about the closure.

“If we had sat back and waited for Watsons we would still be closed,” she said.

“We decided to take matters into our own hands, and made sure there was a walkway down the side of the road so that people could still access the shop,” said Ms Edney.

“Watsons shut our business. They’re nothing to do with Westlegate, they’re just the managers of a building, and they took that decision without consulting us.”

However Watsons have said its management was “fastidious”, saying: “We received thanks from local business with the fastidious nature of our response which, whilst unanticipated, and unfortunate has only resulted in closure of 7 days and 40 minutes.

“Watsons have this week provided daily updates on progress to immediately affected businesses and two surrounding businesses with the original pedestrian access being anticipated to be open by Friday.”

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She added: “We were shut on a Saturday and that’s our busiest day of the week. People walk past and see the big eyesore of all the scaffolding and automatically footfall directs elsewhere, even if we are open.

“I don’t think this will affect us long-term, but it’s certainly taken us time to get back up to speed.”

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