The demolition of the Greyfriars bus station site has been delayed by up to six months after “more asbestos than anticipated’ was found in the building, the leader of Northampton Borough Council said.
The borough council announced in March that it was hoping to complete the demolition of the former bus station by the end of 2014.
However, Councillor David Mackintosh has said the site will now not be cleared until summer 2015 after unexpected “issues” were encountered with the structure of the building.
Councillor Mackintosh said DSM Ltd, a specialist in town centre demolitions, had now been appointed to take forward the “second phase” of the demolition work after Kier completed the internal stripping of the building.
DSM Ltd will be reviewing and considering “all demolition options” for the building during the next 12 weeks.
Councillor Mackintosh said: “It has always been very difficult to estimate how long the demolition would take. A number of issues have been encountered with the building, that was constructed in the 1970s, and we were not always sure what we were going to find in there.
“It is a massive building and we have found more asbestos than it was anticipated we would have to deal with.
“We did not have the full site plans to look at so we were relying on people’s best estimates rather than facts.”
Councillor Mackintosh said the possibility of road closures around the Greyfriars site during the works had been considered, but he believed they would not be needed.
He said: “We are considering all options but the default option is still brick by brick. We are taking advice every step of the way, but my first priority is public safety and I want the public to be reassured of the safety of the demolition procedure.”
Residents and local businesses near Greyfriars were expected to receive letters today providing details of a dedicated phone line they can call with any specific queries about the demolition project.
A spokesman for DSM Ltd said the company was “delighted” to be awarded the contract to demolish Greyfriars.