DEMOLITION day has finally arrived for the former Bradford and Bingleyheadquarters, which is being torn down to the delight of local people.
Two giant machines are now hard at work at the rear of the massive derelict building which has long been regarded as a blight on the town.
Powerful hydraulic jaws at the end of the wrecking machines’ arms are dismantling the concrete walls and removing huge steel structural beams with near surgical precision.
Shipley MP Philip Davies said: “I am absolutely delighted that this is finally happening. It has taken a long time. But I am conscious that this is just a first step and we need to see a redevelopment of the site quickly so that it brings footfall into Bingley town centre.”
Bingley chamber of trade chairman Howard Martin looked on happily as part of the site was carefully ripped apart, with debris being removed by a stream of waste wagons.
“That was where my office used to be once upon a time and that was the old canteen,” said Mr Martin pointing to rooms now opened up to the elements.”
“I’m so glad that after all the talk and all the waiting we finally have action,” he said.
“Sainsbury’s said they would begin work in the New Year and that’s what they’ve done and you can already see a clear gap between the two parts of the old building,” Mr Martin said.
Reverend Canon Beverley Mason of All Saint’s Church, Main Street has campaigned for removal for the building she described as “casting a sad, dark shadow” over the town.
And she described the demotion as “wonderful news.”
“It’s great, I haven’t managed to get along and see it coming down yet, but I definitely will,” Rev Mason said.
Ros Dawson of Bingley Community Council Group said: “It’s great to see it in progress and hope the site is put to good use to the benefit of Bingley.”
Work is scheduled to last 24 weeks as contractors T E Scudder Ltd of Wembley carry out the demolition and removal of the waste and spoil in covered lorries which will be cleaned to prevent the spread of dirt along town roads.
The end result was explained in the planning application for permission to demolish the building – whose strange, staggered design was intended to represent the nearby Five Rise locks on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
“Materials will be used on site to backfill the basement areas where environmentally safe to do so, be processed for sale, or be taken to landfill,” the application stated.
“Restoration of the site will include backfilling the basement areas with crushed materials, leaving the site level and free of any concrete risings and contaminants.
“We will strive to complete these works in a timely and diligent manner and will keep our partners in the community closely informed of further developments.”
Rob Kendon, Sainsbury’s Project Manager, said: “We’re really excited to see the oldBradford & Bingley building on Main Street coming down. Demolition inside the building has been ongoing for some time now but it’s fantastic that members of the local community can now see progress being made.
“Demolition is well underway and we’re currently on schedule. We’ll continue to keep the people of Bingley updated with our work on site and look forward to demolition continuing in the coming weeks.”