Stoke's Spode building forces road closures on Liverpool Road and Elenora Street
TRADERS are predicting chaos in a town centre after a road was closed to repair a dangerous derelict building.
The former Spode works at the junction of Liverpool Road and Elenora Street, in Stoke, is leaning at a 'dangerous' angle next to a pedestrian crossing.
The road was closed between the junctions with Hartshill Road and Elenora Street at 6am today and will remain closed until 6pm on Friday while a crane is brought in to carry out the emergency works.
Traffic is being diverted along Hartshill Road to Shelton Old Road.
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Work began yesterday to take apart the upper levels of the brickwork, which Stoke-on-Trent City Council says is 'seriously out of line'.
Judie Holmes, who owns bridal shop, Gorgeous Gowns, next to Spode works, said: "This will have a big impact on our trade as there isn't a lot of footfall along the road.
"People who come to our shop tend to drive and visit several bridal shops in the area."
The building was declared dangerous by structural experts on Monday.
The building is in a conservation area and each brick will be removed, numbered and stored so they can be safely replaced. It will be left watertight and secure in the meantime. Half of the one-way street was cordoned off on Monday afternoon and scaffolding was installed in preparation for the work.
Mrs Holmes said: "A few weeks ago I noticed the building was leaning. It looked like it was ready to topple over.
"Our building is right next to Spode so we do have problems with damp coming from it.
"Hopefully they will fix it quickly and it won't have too much of an impact on our building. In the mean time we will be open as usual."
The works are expected to last more than a week.
Majid Ali, manager of S-Mart mini market on nearby London Road, said: "We're anticipating a drop in business because most of our customers park outside and nip in rather than walk here.
"My brother, who also works here, drives to work and it's tricky around Stoke at the best of times."
Beverley Llewellyn, owner of Top Slice sandwich shop on the road, added: "We will be one of the more affected shops because we open every day."
Both shops will remain open as usual.
Work also began this week on a dangerous chimney 'at a house in Hartshill.
Part of the street will also be cordoned off to allow the urgent works to be carried out near the junction with Langley Street and Victoria Street.
Recent weather conditions are thought to have played a part in the deterioration of these structures as freezing temperatures exacerbate weaknesses in brickwork.
Pete Price, the council's assistant director of technical services, said: "These works are essential. Initially we considered it may be able to be carried out using scaffolding but closer inspection reveals a crane is needed.
"This involves closing the road to allow access to the crane. The decision we have made is to remove the danger."