Square remains closed over collapse fear

12th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 July 2006, AMSTERDAM — Shopkeepers removed stock from their premises at Bos and Lommerplein in the west of Amsterdam on Wednesday morning.

12 July 2006

AMSTERDAM — Shopkeepers removed stock from their premises at Bos and Lommerplein in the west of Amsterdam on Wednesday morning.

Mayor Job Cohen announced on Tuesday that the retail and residential complex in the square is closed to further notice amid fears an underground garage may collapse.

It is expected the 190 residents of the 90 apartments in the complex will have to stay away for several weeks while the structure is investigated and stabilised. Twenty-seven retail units, the library and a social services office were also evacuated. The local street market has been cancelled until further notice.

The residents were ordered to report to the offices of the local housing association to register for temporary accommodation.

The evacuation was ordered following an examination of the underground garage which was carried out for the owner Fortis Vastgoed. This indicated that the concrete construction in the garage, apartments and stores is flawed.

"The study shows, according to experts, that the complex is not safe," a spokesperson for the local authority said.

Mayor Cohen said the situation was a "disaster" but it was unclear at this stage who is responsible for the construction faults. "There are a whole lot of questions I have no answer for," Cohen said.

Experts are examining the structure and a new report is expected in days.

Meanwhile, the residents don't know if they will be allowed to return to their homes soon. "This is baffling. You think you have a safe roof over your head and now it seems the floor isn't right. This is something we didn't expect," tenants association spokesperson Douwe van Riet said.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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