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Peterborough multi-storey to be demolished after being found "beyond economic repair"

The car park was built in the 1970s using a flawed method Credit: ITV Anglia

Several businesses are going to be left homeless after Peterborough City Council agreed to demolish a 720-space multi-storey car park.

Northminster, which houses nine retail units on the ground floor, is going to be knocked down after it was found to be at risk of collapse.

The car park, which was built in the 1970s, has been closed since the 26th July after a report found it had reached the end of its life.

It was constructed using a technique known as 'lift slab'. However that method has since been found to have a weakness which leaves structures at risk of sudden collapse, according to Peterborough City Council.

It has been closed since July Credit: ITV Anglia

The authority's Growth, Environment, and Resources Committee have now agreed to demolish the car park, at a cost of £1-2.75 million.

They have promised to work with the business owners who will be losing their premises to find new locations in the city.

Councillor Peter Hiller, cabinet member for strategic planning, commercial strategy and investments, said: “Our priority is always to keep people safe and we were not prepared to compromise on this, which is why we took the decision last month to close the car park.

“Given the build method chosen in the 70s, which has since been found to be flawed, we really have no other option but to demolish this car park.

"The sooner we do it, the sooner we can create a surface level car park and introduce additional parking in this part of the city which is so crucial for the market traders.

“In addition, we are doing all that we can to support the market traders who have been affected by the closure of the car park.

“We are now in the process of drawing up a detailed action plan to identify the impacts of demolition on traders, shop owners and others and how these can be mitigated.”

A second report was commissioned after the study in April which forced the initial closure. It was carried out by Skansa, who came to similar conclusions.

"The structure is beyond economic repair, and it is considered highly likely that any further investigations or analysis will only prove that the life of the structure cannot be extended."

– Skansa report

Several stallholders in the nearby City Market are going to have to leave while demolition takes place, though the council have also said they will find alternative premises for them.

The loss of parking spaces is also expected to impact all the market traders; lower and altered tariffs have been introduced at several nearby car parks to counteract any negative impact.

The City Council have suggested they will look to sell the land to the private sector once Northminster is demolished.

A date for demolition has not been set yet Credit: ITV Anglia

Councillor John Holdich, leader of the council, said: “The second report made it absolutely clear that we would need to spend several million pounds to be able to carry out the necessary works to re-open the car park.

"In doing so, it would not extend the life of the car park beyond 10 to 15 years, because of the inherent weaknesses in the way the car park was constructed.

“Spending this money would be a waste of taxpayers’ money, especially at a time when we are having to look carefully at every area of the council to find ways of saving money and doing things differently.

“Given the opportunities this site presents in terms of regenerating this quarter of the city, plus its central location and proximity to the railway station, I am confident that there will be interest from the private sector which would bring forward much needed regeneration for this part of the city.”

The public toilets and shops on the car park's ground floor will stay open until demolition starts, a date for which has not been set yet.