Business owners called to meeting one year on from Bridge Street blaze

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Business owners in Northampton town centre have been invited to a meeting to air their views one year on from the fire that severely damaged a historic listed building and two popular bars in Bridge Street.

The fire hit the old Angel Hotel happened on January 2, 2012 and the building was so badly damaged that it was in danger of collapse.

Both Balloon Bar and the Fat Cat Cafe Bar have been closed since the fire.

Scaffolding has been supporting the building and the protective hoardings mean traffic flow in Bridge Street has been reduced to one way.

As the first anniversary of the fire approaches, Councillor David Mackintosh (Con, Rectory Farm), the leader of Northampton Borough Council, has written to businesses in the town centre to explain the steps the council has been taking to encourage the building’s owners to repair the building as quickly as possible.

He has also invited business owners to a meeting to discuss progress on removing the scaffolding and reopening the street to two-way traffic.

He said: “The fire was devastating for the bars based in the old Angel Hotel but it has also had a major and on-going impact on other businesses in Bridge Street who have lived with the disruption for a year now.

“The building is in private ownership and the work is progressing but in some areas, not as quickly as everyone would like.

“Our powers are limited but we are doing everything we can to press for a clear timetable for completion and the removal of the scaffolding.”

Councillor Mackintosh added he wanted to understand the issues businesses are facing so he can see what further support the council can offer.

The meeting will take place at the Guildhall on January 22.