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Work on Newcastle Odeon Building Resumes After Structural Collapse

Work on the demolition of the former Odeon picture house in Newcastle finally resumed at the end of April following over three weeks of delays after it collapsed into Pilgrim Street.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) had indefinitely banned work from being carried out on the site at the time of the collapse. The area was to remain preserved for the HSE to properly carry out an inspection.

A spokesperson for the HSE said that all work except for a structural stability assessment had been prohibited.

The investigation into the cause of the incident has now been completed after the partly demolished structure collapsed on April 3. Piles of bricks and twisted scaffolding were all that remained of the site after the structural collapse, which flattened a bus shelter when it fell. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

One eyewitness said she heard a loud rumbling noise before the building fell. It was apparently so loud that nearby taxi drivers came running to see what had occurred. Fortunately, no rubble landed where she was standing, although it would have done if the structural collapse had been a fraction worse.

The Odeon, which was built in 1931, has been under demolition since the beginning of the year.

The spokesperson said that the HSE was made aware of the incident and inspectors went to the location. The organisation then worked with Newcastle City Council to keep the collapse site as safe as possible.

 

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As part of the inquiry, the HSE cooperated with those involved in the demolition work to determine whether the working practices and policies in place were sufficient to protect both workers and the general public.

A HSE spokesman recently said they were now satisfied the duty holders have made the improvements required by the notices that had been served and work was no able to resume.

The Newcastle Odeon is being knocked down after its owners provided plans to clear it away and turn the area into a retail outlet, but the recent structural collapse of the building caused the debate surrounding the demolition to reignite.

The cinema has been vacant since 2002, when it showed its last film, but many local residents still have fond memories of going there. One Lemington resident recalled that frequent visits to the Odeon were regarded as a “lovely treat” by his family as well as others.

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