Heerlen shopping mall to be demolished
Shopping mall ‘t Loon in the south-eastern town of Heerlen is to be partly demolished to prevent a spontaneous collapse after the ground underneath the mall began to sink, causing structural damage to the building.
The owners’ association was to present a demolition plan to the local council early on Monday. On Saturday the authorities discovered that the ground underneath the mall’s parking garage had sunk even further, creating a hole five meters wide and half a meter deep. One of the pillars supporting the roof had sunk deeper and several struts had shifted.
Mayor Paul Depla said a controlled demolition was also intended to prevent asbestos particles spreading in the neighbourhood. On Sunday 40 of the mall’s 50 shopkeepers were allowed to enter their shops to remove their supplies. The demolition is a serious blow to the entrepreneurs as it comes just ahead of the busy holiday season.
Residents of the apartment building which forms part of the complex were allowed back in their homes to collect their belongings. The building is not under threat of collapse but utilities but gas and heating have been cut as a precaution. The authorities have launched an investigation but it is not yet clear what caused the ground under the mall to start sinking.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide