'Extremely disappointing' - Westlegate Tower works extended AGAIN

Westlegate Tower is still wrapped in scaffolding, and will be for another month

Westlegate Tower is still wrapped in scaffolding, and will be for another month - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Westlegate Tower works are set to stretch on for yet another five weeks in a development businesses have called "disappointing".

The scaffolding blighting the Norwich high rise was installed in 2019 after 60mph gusts ripped down a section of cladding.

Watsons Property, which manages the tower, said shortages in the UK cladding market were to blame for why repairs didn't actually start until August of this year.

But now, the initial completion date of mid-October has been pushed back AGAIN to December 3.

The footpath next to Warings Lifestore has been closed off since August 2,

The footpath next to Warings Lifestore has been closed off since August 2, originally promising to be over within ten weeks, but now extended to December 3 - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Scaffolding is going up around Westlegate Tower

Scaffolding was only supposed to be going up for ten weeks, but this has been extended - Credit: Archant

Explaining further setbacks, Watsons, speaking on behalf of the building's owner, said: "Repair works have commenced but there have been some unforeseen delays due to negotiations with contractors.

"Scaffolding, including a construction lift for ease of access of materials, has also been erected to enable this work to take place. No additional costs, including those associated with the scaffolding, are being borne by leaseholders."

The chairman of the Westlegate Tower Residents Association, who did not want to be named, said: "It's absolutely ridiculous that it's taken them nearly three years to sort this, but what's another couple of months for tenants to wait when we've already waited this long?

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"We're just hoping for a scaffold-free Christmas."

Westlegate Tower is still wrapped in scaffolding, and will be for another month

Westlegate Tower is still wrapped in scaffolding, and will be for another month - Credit: Sarah Burgess

The chairman said for a six-month period leaseholders had been footing a scaffolding bill of several thousand pounds a month, but the responsibility for that had been taken over by the construction company — to tenants' "immense relief".

Rachel Warings, who owns Warings Lifestore directly beneath Westlegate, said she was "extremely disappointed" with the delay.

She said: "As part of the works they've blocked off Lion & Castle Yard, and the back entrance to our interiors store. It's massively affected trade.

"It's worrying because it's apparently too unsafe for us to walk through or have seating there, but there's homeless people in tents sleeping there every night.

"Does nobody care about their safety?"

Westlegate Tower is still wrapped in scaffolding, and will be for another month

Westlegate Tower is still wrapped in scaffolding, and will be for another month - Credit: Sarah Burgess

Duty manager at Two Magpies Bakery, Enrique Riverola, said his customers weren't happy that the walkway from Timber Hill to Westlegate was blocked off either.

"It's a big annoyance for people", he explained.

Westlegate Tower saga

It was March 2019 when stormy weather first brought down the cladding.

You can still see the ripped cladding on Westlegate Tower due to high winds last week in Norwich. PI

The ripped cladding on Westlegate Tower in 2019 - Credit: Archant

The incident saw the pedestrianised Westlegate closed for seven days while the temporary scaffolding was put up to secure the building.

The closure saw safety barriers put up around the tower block, preventing people from walking between Westlegate and All Saints Green.

A blockade has been put in place after cladding on the Westlegate Tower has been ripped off due to t

A blockade was been put in place after cladding on the Westlegate Tower was ripped off due to the high winds - Credit: Archant

It forced Warings Lifestore, Paula Gundry and Evans Cycles to close their doors, while other businesses on the street reported a 50pc drop in footfall. Dessert shop Mindoro ceased trading entirely, blaming “adverse trading conditions”.

In January last year, Norwich South MP Clive Lewis urged managers of the high rise to "pull their fingers out", fix the building and remove the scaffolding - which he labelled "an eyesore".

A blockade has been put in place after cladding on the Westlegate Tower has been ripped off due to t

A blockade was put in place after cladding on the Westlegate Tower was ripped off due to the high winds - Credit: Archant

But it wasn’t until August this year that work began to repair the cladding hole - 28 months after it appeared.

The works were only supposed to run for ten weeks from August 2.

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