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Cracked Norwich car park 'is safe'

PUBLISHED: 12:47 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:47 02 July 2010

Sarah Hall

Council leaders have stressed that an award-winning Norwich city centre multi-storey car park where cracks opened up is still safe to use.

And Norwich City Council has urged drivers to keep on using St Andrew's Car Park, insisting the props which have appeared throughout the building are a precautionary measure.

Council leaders have stressed that an award-winning Norwich city centre multi-storey car park where cracks opened up is still safe to use.

And Norwich City Council has urged drivers to keep on using St Andrew's Car Park, insisting the props which have appeared throughout the building are a precautionary measure.

As reported in the Evening News, the cracks were discovered last July and supports put in place while the cause of the problem was investigated.

At a meeting of Norwich City Council on Tuesday night, Antony Little, leader of the Conservative group, asked for assurances that the building was safe.

Alan Waters, executive member for corporate resources and governance, said it was and said the council had acted in a timely and effective fashion.

He said: “The car park is a steel column structure supporting concrete decks. The top deck has show signs of cracking around two small areas where drainage channels are located.

“We began monitoring these cracks in July 2009 and after six months decided to install props as a precautionary measure to ensure the areas affected can continue to be used safely while further monitoring continues.

“Because the supports are required at the top deck, it is necessary to be continued down to the ground floor in order not to increase loadings on intermediate decks, so the props are placed throughout the car park.”

He said consultants were appointed six months ago and had submitted their draft report.

Mr Waters said: “The report will identify what, if any, works are required. It is a localised issue that does not have ramifications for the floors below.

“In terms of costs, any works would be assessed to determine liability and the matter is with council and contactor insurers.

“Our own survey will help establish where liability would rest. We do not expect to have any liability for putting right defects found.”

The previous car park had to be demolished because of serious structural defects, but Mr Waters said the replacement had been a huge success.

He said the 1,082 space car park had won best new UK car park of the year in 2006 and in the financial year 2008/9 had contributed just under £2m to the council's coffers - 43pc of the gross income the council received from its 16 car parks.

Mr Waters added: “The car park is open 24 hours a day and is acknowledged by customers as a safe, well maintained and vital asset providing key access to the city.”

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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