Welwyn Hatfield Council blasted over ‘slapdash’ facade after it collapses in town centre

PUBLISHED: 16:24 18 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:24 18 May 2017

The 20ft facade collapsed from a council-owned flat above Peacocks in Hatfield. Picture: Helena Newton-Welsh.

The 20ft facade collapsed from a council-owned flat above Peacocks in Hatfield. Picture: Helena Newton-Welsh.

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Welwyn Hatfield Council has been slammed after a 20ft facade collapsed in Hatfield’s town centre.

The 20ft facade collapsed from a council-owned flat above Peacocks in Hatfield. Picture: Helena Newton-Welsh. The 20ft facade collapsed from a council-owned flat above Peacocks in Hatfield. Picture: Helena Newton-Welsh.

The cladding from council-owned flats above Peacocks in White Lion Square fell on Wednesday afternoon, just around a year after it was installed.

Residents blasted the blunder on social media and claimed it was a “slapdash” job that reflected how the town centre had been left to wither.

But a council spokeswoman insisted the facade was installed as part of a £4.65million investment in the town centre, which reflected its commitment to improving the area.

Optical advisor at Boots in Market Place, Jane Markham, said: “It’s only just been put up there that cladding. What did they use? Chewing gum? Blu-Tack?

Hatfield resident Serkan Adakan. Hatfield resident Serkan Adakan.

“I mean really someone could have bee quite seriously hurt if it fell on them.”

She added that she does not feel the borough council is looking after the town centre, and the falling facade is an example of that neglect.

“There is blood down by the arcade, there was a load of rubbish by the flower beds, it’s just left really. It’s a bit slapdash.”

Serkan Adaken, 43, of Birchwood, said: “If someone [did the work recently] and it comes off, someone hasn’t done their job properly, and they are lucky no one was underneath when it came down.”

He also questioned whether the council or its contractor had re-checked the work to ensure it was still okay, and claimed more tests need to be done.

A council spokeswoman said: “The facade was installed in White Lion Square last year, as part of the council’s £4.65m investment in the town centre.

“Our investigation continues with the specialist sub-contractors and suppliers to find out what caused it to dislodge.”

She added that as part of the Hatfield 2030+ project, a multi-storey car park has been proposed, with the hope that it will unlock space for further regeneration in the town centre.

The council hope this will allow the development of sites with a mixture of housing, shops and places to eat and drink.

She added: “Everyone involved in delivering the ambitious plans for Hatfield 2030+ are working together to deliver renewal for the whole of Hatfield.”

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