Leaks are the latest headache for shops in Church Walk

SHOPS in Denny’s notorious Church Walk blocks were damaged after water started pouring through their roofs “like a waterfall”.

RS McColl’s newsagent was forced to close for four days over the weekend of February 5 - 6.

The Falkirk Herald has since learned that other shops also suffered leaks around the same time.

One shopkeeper said she believed the leaks were caused by council workmen who were using a flat roof at the rear of the building for access while carrying out repairs to the block’s roughcasting.

The £75,000 programme of works, which began in October last year, has proved controversial, since Church Walk is scheduled for demolition as part of the town’s much delayed regeneration programme.

The roughcasting repairs were finally completed on February 9, two months behind schedule.

Leanne Cruise, who manages the Cruise Deals shop in Church Walk, said: “I had to rearrange my stock and move it towards the front of the shop to avoid the leaks coming through the roof.

“We weren’t as badly affected as RS McColl’s, where it was like a waterfall.

“We went through the recent harsh winter with all that snow and didn’t have a single leak – but when the work began to repair the empty flats above us, water suddenly started coming in.”

A neighbouring branch of Boots the Chemist was also affected by water leakage, although a company spokesperson said that there had been no lasting damage.

It was, however, RS McColl’s that paid the heaviest price, with the shop forced to close for several days.

A spokesperson for the newsagent refused to comment when asked if the company planned to take legal action to recover the costs of the shop’s enforced closure.

William Fyffe, a Denny resident, said that he had witnessed sizable chunks of discarded roughcasting falling onto the pavement below, just yards from passers by.

He added: “I’ve worked in the building industry and I would say that correct procedures were not being followed.

“There is no way that chunks of masonry should have just been falling out of the sky like that – there should have been a kickguard to catch them.

“You have to wonder why these works were being carried out in the first place, as the flats will soon be demolished.”

A spokesperson for Falkirk Council said: “We are aware of the recent water ingress which occurred during a period of substantial rainfall.

“As well as corresponding with other traders, we have met RS McColls to examine the potential causes of the flooding.

“If the cause relates to our recent works then any claims would be referred to the Council’s insurers, however, until this is clear we are unable to comment.

“Traders are receiving financial compensation which acknowledges the problems created by water ingress to the blocks and intermittent disturbance to their businesses.

“Repairs to the defective roughcast surface through removal and repointing have also been undertaken.

This has been done at minimal cost, recognising our commitment to redevelop the site.”

“The Council is moving forward with its redevelopment plans for Denny town centre.”