THE owner of a historic building that was demolished suddenly on New Year’s Eve says that there was ‘no other option’ but to bulldoze the site.

An emergency demolition of the former council office and schoolhouse on Cairo Street in the town centre was carried out on Monday, December 31.

Warrington Guardian:

Major structural brickwork supporting the roof had collapsed after ‘numerous unauthorised attempts to access the building’ resulted in it becoming destabilised.

And the site’s owners PTS Property - who previously owned the Garnett’s Cabinet Works before the building was bought by Warrington Borough Council - says there was no alternative but to demolish the building.

Director John Rowlinson said: “We spent massive amounts of money trying to keep the cabinet works safe, and now the council offices.

“The council offices were stripped last year at massive cost for renovation.

“People had pushed through a wall and the crumbling brick had given way, and a truss fallen.

“There was really no other option, as the gable wall had failed also.

Warrington Guardian:

Inside the now-demolished building

“For the record, we paid for the demolition fully - and it cost a whole lot more than a planned, phased one would have cost as we could not reclaim any materials.”

Mr Rowlinson has also hit back of claims of unscrupulous behaviour by the developer, and refuted speculation that apartments would now be built on the vacant site.

Planning permission had previously been granted to turn the building into a restaurant - and it is now hoped that a number of eateries with outdoor seating will be created in its place, in the style of Altrincham Market.

Warrington Guardian:

He added: “All the talk of corruption is slightly disconcerting

“There is no upside for us in this.

“It has not increased the value of the site, and we have enough apartments in Warrington.

“I am passionate about Warrington, I lived there for 50 years and visit every day - I am slightly saddened at the corruption stuff, but the cabinet works could not have been refurbished and neither could this.

Warrington Guardian:

How the building looked before it was demolished - picture by Google Maps

“What there needs to be is beautiful developments that reflect the history of what has been lost.

“That is what I will try to achieve.

“I would hope that when the cabinet works is redeveloped and there is a walkway through from that area to the Cultural Quarter, that we could have one or more restaurant operators there in units resembling what was developed.”