Indoor Market remains closed as RAAC inspections continue
The council has confirmed that Bridgend Indoor Market, at the Rhiw Shopping Centre in the town centre, remains closed following the discovery of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in the roof of the building.
The market was closed last Wednesday (20 September) in the interests of public safety.
Detailed inspections are continuing to establish the extent of the problems and to enable remedial work to be planned.
The shopping centre currently remains open for business as usual.
A total of 17 stall holders have been affected by the closure, which was deemed necessary following an inspection by a Welsh Government-approved specialist under new national guidance from the UK Government.
Traders have been kept fully informed throughout the process, and a series of face-to- face meetings have been held to offer them direct advice tailored to each specific business.
Immediately after the decision to temporarily close the indoor market was taken, the council ensured traders could access alternative storage facilities, including an industrial fridge and freezer, and that physical support was available to help them safely itemise and relocate their existing stock.
The council is also considering what financial support may be available as a result of the unavoidable temporary closure of the indoor market.
In addition, it has taken steps to cancel and where necessary refund rental payments on the affected stalls and has arranged for 100 per cent exemptions on non-domestic business rates to be applied with immediate effect. Any payments that traders may have already made will be returned.
Council officials are also looking at suitable units the stalls could be relocated to.
Bridgend County Borough Council is also working alongside the management of the Rhiw Shopping Centre and town centre landlords to identify vacant units that may be suitable for stallholders to relocate into so that they can continue to trade.
Council Leader Huw David said: “Bridgend County Borough Council cannot and will not compromise where public safety is concerned, and we took swift action as soon as the approved specialist confirmed that there could be a potential issue associated with the use of RAAC within the indoor market’s roof.
“At the same time, we are doing all that we can to support traders who have been affected by this unfortunate development, and to enable their businesses to re-open in the town centre as soon as possible.
“Our approach recognises that some traders may have very specific requirements depending upon the nature of their business and stock, so we are taking this into consideration and are offering additional support and bespoke guidance from the likes of our Business Support specialists and the Shared Regulatory Service’s food safety, trading standards and environmental health teams.”
“The council continues to recognise the difficulties and potential hardship that this temporary closure will cause to traders, and are making every effort to keep inconvenience to an absolute
Hayley Davies, who runs Tilly’s Rawsome Pet Food at Bridgend Indoor Market, said: “This is obviously a very difficult time, but the council have done their best in what is a very awkward situation.
“The council’s employability and economic teams have met with us to make sure that we are aware of all options, and I know that everyone is trying really hard to put a plan in place as quickly as possible which meets the needs of all individual businesses.”
RAAC was commonly used within the construction industry between the 1950s – mid 1990s. Bridgend Indoor Market as the market hall was built in 1972.
The Health and Safety Executive has warned that RAAC is now beyond its lifespan and could collapse without notice.
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