Council intends to remove scaffolding outside fire-hit bar in Northampton “as soon as possible”

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Northampton Borough Council will try to remove safety scaffolding that has been in a Northampton street amid fears about safety of staff of neighbouring businesses.

Some sort of support scaffolding outside Fat Cat Cafe bar and Balloon Bar in Bridge Street has been in place since January 6 2012, four days after a fire destroyed the top floor of the former Angel Hotel in which they are housed.

In order to protect pedestrians, a temporary tunnel was built, but it has been unpopular with businesses in the street both from an aesthetic and a safety point of view.

It conceals about 15 metres of the street from view and half of the inside lights are broken.

Ian Hobin of Your Move estate agents, next door to Balloon Bar, said: “I’m very concerned about the security of that tunnel. We always tell staff to be cautious when they have to go that way.”

Balloon Bar still operates out of the Grade II listed building but Fat Cats has not reopened since the fire and its parent company went into administration in April 2013.

The scaffolding is managed by the borough council and Councillor Tim Hadland, cabinet member for regeneration, said he wanted to work with the landlords to reopen the building and get to a position where the scaffolding could be finally dismantled.

He said: “Like everyone we would like to see the scaffolding come down, but it is a necessary safety measure.

“We do understand that the tunnel under the scaffolding could be intimidating to some people but we are not aware of any incidents in the tunnel or caused by the tunnel.

“We are continually working with the owners to bring the building back into use and we have been clear about our wish to remove the scaffolding as soon as possible.”