Debris from collapsed Swingate House gone 'by early next week'

Swingate House, Stevenage, which unexpectedly collapsed on Tuesday, March 22

The debris from Swingate House, which unexpectedly collapsed in Stevenage town centre, should be cleared "by early next week", Stevenage Council's leader has said - Credit: Velda Umney

A plan to remove debris following the unexpected collapse of Swingate House has been agreed.

Stevenage Council released a statement at 6.41pm today (Wednesday, March 23) to say that a plan is underway to reopen roads.

Council leader Sharon Taylor has said that disruption should ease in "very short order", and that the site will be made safe over the weekend.

The building collapsed at around 10am on Tuesday, March 22.

Swingate House was due for demolition, but it unexpectedly collapsed outwards into a nearby road.

A cordon was put in place.

A Stevenage Council spokesperson said: "Following the emergency response, we have been working with Stevenage Police, Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, development partner Mace, the contractor and the Health and Safety Executive to respond to the incident.

"A plan has been agreed to safely manage the next stages of the demolition works, to remove the debris and continue the demolition.

"These works have now started, and will be visible over the coming days.

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"We remain in close liaison with our partners as the works progress."

The council has warned that there will be disruption over the coming days in Stevenage town centre.

Sharon Taylor, borough council leader, spoke to ITV Anglia about the situation.

Cllr Taylor said: "Clearly, the safety of the public and our businesses is key to us.

"We're trying to get that site made safe, get the rest of the building down quickly and get all the debris out of the way.

"We've got a £1 billion town centre transformation programme going on here.

"We're always going to have to be working within the confines of a town centre while we do it."

Cllr Taylor added that closed roads should reopen over the weekend or "by early next week".

Council contractor Mace has said that it will support the authorities' investigation into the collapse.

A Mace spokesperson said: "We’d like to thank the emergency services and the council for their assistance managing the incident yesterday.

"We have been working closely with our principal contractor and will be supporting the Health & Safety Executive fully with their investigation."

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland has called for an investigation into "how this could possibly happen".

Shortly after the incident, he tweeted: "A lot of shock locally with the collapse of Swingate House being demolished as part of Stevenage Borough Council/Mace Group project.

"Needs clear explanation how this could have happened and I will be asking the Health & Safety Executive to investigate."