FINALLY! Scaffolding on Westlegate Tower starts to come down

The scaffolding that surrounds Westlegate Tower is slowly but surely coming down 

The scaffolding that surrounds Westlegate Tower is slowly but surely coming down - Credit: Maya Derrick

A city centre apartment block is finally seeing scaffolding removed - put up almost three years ago after a chunk of cladding was tore from the side of the building. 

Westlegate Tower has been covered in metal beams since March 2019 with city folk dubbing it an eyesore ever since. 

But now builders on site confirmed the works, which started on Monday, are set to be completed by the end of next week.

A piece of cladding has been torn from Westlegate Tower in high winds. Picture: Dominic Gilbert

A hole left behind after a piece of cladding was torn from Westlegate Tower in high winds in 2019 - Credit: Archant

Stewart Martin, artistic director of Esteem hair salon in nearby Timberhill, said: "We've just had to get on with it."

The business owner was speaking after trucks and lorries continually driving outside his business had caused disruption to customers walking into the salon. 

Next door at Two Magpies, duty manager Tiberiu Andras said that although he doesn't believe all Westlegate and Timberhill businesses have been disturbed by the works, the towering scaffolding - as well as the ongoing delays - has had a detrimental impact on the bakery.

Two Magpies Bakery duty manager Tiberiu Andras said that trade has been impacted by the scaffolding work at Westlegate Tower

Two Magpies Bakery duty manager Tiberiu Andras said that trade has been impacted by the ongoing scaffolding work at Westlegate Tower - Credit: Maya Derrick

He said: "The problem is that people have been avoiding us - it's quite a loop to come around here. We used to have a lot of trade, because people are seeing us as they go on their way, but not any more.

"The supervisor of the Westlegate site came over and apologised for the delays, but there wasn't much he could do, it was out of his control.

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"Hopefully we're going to pick up trade. I don't know if people think cut-though access has been blocked forever, but we'll see."

It comes following multiple delays to the project which was originally earmarked to be complete in August last year.

A sign apologising for the footpath closure at the bottom of Westlegate Tower in Norwich city centre

A sign apologising for the footpath closure at the bottom of Westlegate Tower in Norwich city centre - Credit: Maya Derrick

Norwich South MP, Clive Lewis, said: “This work has taken long enough - it’s been a massive eyesore in the city for years now.

South Norwich Labour MP Clive Lewis Photo: UK Parliament

South Norwich Labour MP Clive Lewis - Credit: UK Parliament

“With all the attention on cladding and tower blocks at the moment this is welcome news. But government’s promises must result in action and enforcement instead of more delays and blame games.”

Watsons Property, which manages the tower, did not provide a comment before publication.

The story so far

A chunk of cladding was ripped from the side of Westlegate Tower as Storm Gareth raged in March 2019 - almost three years ago.

The drama shut the busy pedestrian thoroughfare of the same name for the best part of two weeks, as the building tower posed a risk to the safety of passers by.

From the start the work was slammed for being too slow, with businesses and Norwich South MP Clive Lewis critiquing how much time it was taking for repairs to start, causing footfall to Westlegate businesses to halve.

The hole itself wasn't fixed until August of last year, with additional scaffolding erected for the duration of the works.

These works were extended multiple times before it was finally announced that the scaffolding was to be taken down before the end of January 2022.