The controversial Plumbs Chambers site.
The controversial Plumbs Chambers site. File

'Urgent work' yet to start on wall

STEEL scaffolding needed to support the crumbling wall of one of the two Plumbs Chambers buildings on Fitzroy St is still not in place more than eight months after safety concerns were first raised.

The controversial site remains cordoned off awaiting what were described last April as "urgent" safety works and stands in the way of a planned expansion of Rose City Shoppingworld.

The Warwick police were the first to ring the alarm bell over the western wall of the sandstone Plumbs building at 84 Fitzroy St which is nearest the station and Haig Ave, which gives access to the underground Rose City Shoppingworld car park.

Plumbs and Rose City owners the McConaghy Group last year said public safety was "paramount" and that a custom-made steel brace for the wall would be installed late last year but it is still nowhere to be seen.

After being contacted by the Daily news yesterday, Mayor Ron Bellingham said he had spoken again to the McConaghy Group who he said had given an assurance work would begin soon, but were unspecific as to what that might entail.

The sandstone building must be restored as part of any Rose City Shoppingworld redevelopment but its older timber counterpart can be demolished, after a council error in failing to have it heritage listed and after the State Government gave the green light for it to go.

It remains unclear if the work referred to yesterday will involve placement of the steel brace or the full-blown restoration of 84.

Cr Bellingham said her was confident the group would be as good as its word, but conceded they had given no definite dates for work to begin.

"It is relevant that the access that is being restricted to the centre itself, which is owned by the McConaghy Group,"' he said.

"But I am also concerned about footpath access in front of those buildings and the safety of the wall, although by my observation it does seem to have settled somewhat.

"I have been assured work will start in the near future."

He said legal action last year to save Plumbs had meant the McConaghy Group had had its hands tied, but acknowledged the action was now over.

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