An unsafe building caused severe traffic delays in Balham this morning.
Stonework fell from a building, in the early hours of the morning, in Balham High Road and meant traffic had to be diverted by the police while fire fighters secured the area.
The debris fell on the path below. Pics by Chadwick's Butchers
Building safety checks had to be carried by council engineers.
Fire fighters had to make sure the building was safe
Carlie Welch, an administrator for Chadwick's Butchers, in Balham High Road, said: “At about 8am this morning Gary, the owner, came in and sent a message saying ‘get in as quick as you can’.
“The masonry had fallen down from one of our neighbour’s roofs and hit the floor. There was quite a lot.
“They think it happened at about 12.30 at night – it’s quite lucky it wasn't a Saturday night when people were coming out of the pubs.
“It was all going on this morning. We gave the fire fighters bacon sandwiches and tea. It was a bit exciting and no-one was hurt.”
Breakfast time for the fire fighters
Following the incident the council issued a statement urging shops, restaurants and businesses to make sure regular safety checks are conducted on their buildings.
Head of planning and development Tim Cronin said: “Many of the buildings in this part of London date back to the Victorian era when architects tended to add lots of decorative stonework to the facades of buildings to make them more visually attractive.
“It is these types of cosmetic extras that can cause problems because they are not an integral part of the structure. Many will have been fixed to the front of the building with metal ties or nails and over time these can rust away or perish leaving these stone features unsafe.
“Our message to property owners, especially those whose buildings are next to busy pedestrian routes, and also businesses like pubs, bars and restaurants which have customers sitting or standing outside, is that they need to carry out regular checks to ensure that their building remains safe."
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