Fire tore through the car park at the ACC Liverpool complex on New Year’s Eve last year and more than 1,000 vehicles left there by their owners were completely burnt out. Tony McDonough reports
Work is starting on Wednesday to remove more than 1,200 vehicles destroyed or damaged by the devastating blaze at the Liverpool waterfront car park last New Year’s Eve.
More than 1,000 of the vehicles were completely burnt out in the fire and once all are removed the demolition of the building, next to the ACC Liverpool complex, will begin. It is anticipated most of the demolition will be complete before Christmas.
The latest progress follows an agreement with insurance companies and liaison with the Association of British Insurers including the process and the procedure for the removal of the vehicles not burnt out.
These vehicles will be taken to a secure compound and the relevant insurance companies will be liaising with the owners regarding the removal of any belongings. Many will have suffered water, heat and smoke damage during the blaze, which at its height had 21 fire appliances tackling it, protecting the surrounding buildings.
No vehicles could be removed prior to the demolition process commencing due to safety concerns regarding the fragile nature of the building. Mersey Fire and Rescue Service recently concluded that temperatures during the blaze reached over 1,000 degree Celsius, far higher than the previous estimate of 600 degrees
This has caused extreme internal damage to the integrity of the structure. Safety has been of paramount concern regarding the planning of demolition and the engineers have discussed all matters with the Health and Safety Executive.
During the first five months following the fire, there were detailed discussions with insurers of both the building and vehicles alongside a series of detailed structural assessments and reports.
More recently, a series of enabling works have been completed to ensure the site continues to operate and is open for business during the demolition process.
Planning permission for a new, nine-floor car park for 1,650 vehicles at Monarch’s Quay has been given. The new car park at ACC Liverpool will be fitted with CCTV, electric vehicle charging points, sprinkler system, 15 motorcycle spaces and 50 cycle spaces. It will also have 100 disabled parking bays and fully accessible fire evacuation lifts.
A series of highway changes are also being proposed to improve access into and out of the new car park, especially after sell-out events.
Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “Establishing a series of plans and procedures to dismantle the existing car park has been a hugely complex and detailed piece of work which has prioritised the safety of people.
“We have been in a constant dialogue with insurers and have been carrying out a robust set of enabling works that will ensure we can minimise disruption to the site during the demolition.”