Demolition crews move in on rotunda

WORK has started to tear down the iconic rotunda at Yates's Wine Lodge in Talbot Square.

The Blackpool landmark was irreparably damaged by a massive fire that swept through the building in February.

Council chiefs and Yates' staff had hoped to save the top floor feature at the historic pub.

But on Wednesday it was announced that a structural survey had revealed the building had "substantially deteriorated.

Workmen set about the demolition late yesterday, working through the night to ensure minimum disruption to town centre business and traffic.

David Jamieson, spokesman for Controlled Group, the demolition company contracted to pull down the 140-year-old structure, explained how the tricky operation will be carried out.

He said: "We were alerted to the fact that the building was increasingly unsafe last Friday.

"We are using long-reach excavators to bring the circular rotunda of the building down to the first floor.

"We will continue tonight when we hope to finish. We negotiated these times to cause minimum disruption to local businesses, though there will be a certain amount of noise, which cannot be helped.

"There is a chance we might have to continue on Monday night."

Controlled Group also pledged yesterday to do everything possible to ensure the neighbouring wall on the Talbot Road side is not damaged during the works.

Blackpool Civic Trust are now campaigning for the rotunda to be rebuilt but Yates's bosses and Blackpool Council have said that is "doubtful."

A spokeswoman from Ernst and Young, which owns the pub, said it was too early to discuss rebuilding plans, but area manager John Crighton told The Gazette the firm would keep the site as a Yates's.

As a result of the works, Clifton Street was closed from the Subway shop upwards.

Talbot Road also closed at 11.30pm from the mini roundabout to Abingdon Street.

There is a possibility both roads could close again tonight and Monday night.