You are here:

Latest news

Update on the incident at the former Coop building

Published on Thursday, 8th August 2019

Further to our statements yesterday regarding the incident at the former Coop site in Nuneaton, our contractors have informed us that the site is safe and the debris has been cleared as far as possible.

To clarify the position so far:

  • No-one was hurt in this incident.
  • Emergency services attended to ensure public safety and senior Borough Council managers were on site almost immediately. All were briefed by the demolition contractor and the site was assessed by the building surveyor.
  • We understand from our contractor that any debris that fell from the site was contained within the safety exclusion zone – we are informed that this was put in place around the building and staffed by employees of the contractor, to prevent any public access to it. We have asked our contractor to issue a statement confirming the practical details of this exclusion zone.
  • Our initial assessment suggests that the part of the building we plan to retain for use is unaffected by the incident. Officers continue to assess the situation and we’ll report again once we have further information.
  • HSE has been informed by both the Police and the Council of the incident and they will investigate if appropriate. The Council’s Health and Safety officers will support the HSE with any investigation, or should the HSE decide that an independent investigation is not required, the Council will conduct one of their own.

There are a various misleading suggestions on social media that it is important to correct:

  • Firstly, it has been suggested that the Council plan to demolish the whole Coop building – this simply isn’t true. We are totally committed to preserving those parts of the building of particular historical or commercial value - we have been extremely clear and consistent in our message about this. We also wish to correct the misunderstanding that this is a listed building – it is not.
  • Secondly, some commentators have ‘demanded’ an investigation. We totally agree - our robust procedures mean that incidents such as this are automatically investigated. We had already put the wheels in motion as soon as we were aware of the incident, with our Health and Safety team and HSE being notified.
  • Thirdly, it has been suggested that adequate safety precautions were not taken – we are assured by our contractor that proper arrangements were indeed in place and that a safety zone was effective around the building. We have asked our contractor to issue a statement to confirm the detail of this. There have also been suggestions that school holiday activities taking place in the town centre the previous day put children in danger – this is certainly not the case as all demolition work is scheduled by the contractor in consultation with the Council. Any activities and events are planned safely and would always take place well outside any exclusion zone. In any case, no demolition work was scheduled for Tuesday when the school holiday activities took place.
  • Fourthly, there have been rumours that some businesses in the area are at risk of closure as a result of the incident – we can only assume that these rumours emerged as a result of emergency services coning off the area for a few hours yesterday whilst the situation was assessed. We are liaising with local businesses to ensure that if there is any further disruption, the effects are minimised for them.  
  • Finally, the letting to the new House of Escapes’ venture is unaffected.