A UTTOXETER pensioner was left shocked after a piece of a historic town centre building shattered to the floor – missing him by inches.
Retired Terry Allen was walking past Uttoxeter Town Hall in High Street when he said a ‘chunk’ of the building’s balcony smashed to the ground in front of him.
The incident on the afternoon of Tuesday, January 15 prompted staff at the town hall to immediately cordon off the area and investigate what had happened.
A shaken Mr Allen told the Advertiser: “I was walking on high street and a chunk of sandstone from Uttoxeter Town Hall came off and dropped down in front of me.
“It was very shocking – what if a mum with a pushchair had been in front of me?
“It makes you worry whether the building is stable.
“They fenced it all off straightaway when I told them and the caretaker went and had a look but it is back open again now.”
Clerk of Uttoxeter Town Council Rachel Jarvis told the Advertiser it acted swiftly to make sure the building is safe.
She said: “On Tuesday at around 3.30pm the corner piece of the balcony sheared off and fell to the ground.
“The area was quickly cordoned off and the public restricted to using the ramp access to the reception area.
“Heavy duty security fencing was organised and in place by 6.30pm.
“In the meantime, advice was received from East Staffordshire Borough Council Building Control and an inspection booked for 8am the following morning.
“The Principal Building Inspector inspected the balcony and it is understood that over time, water has penetrated a split in the stone which has subsequently frozen and caused the piece to sheer off.
“After the inspection, it was confirmed that this was the only area affected and there was no further risk. The secure fencing was then removed.”
Mr Allen also said he had been left ‘disappointed’ that no one at the town hall had rung him up to check he was OK .
Mrs Jarvis said: “I had been alerted to the situation by a telephone call and it was Councillor Chapman who later informed me that Mr Allen had been in the near vicinity, as I understand Mr Allen is a personal friend. I am sorry Mr Allen feels disappointed that I have not been in touch, and I wish to assure Mr Allen that as a personal friend of Councillor Chapman I had thought he would appreciate being kept up to date by him.
“I would like to publicly send our very best wishes to Mr Allen, I am of course sorry for any upset caused and very relieved that he is safe and well.”