Collapse could have caused a tragedy

Photo: Simon Jenkins, BBC Sussex.
Photo: Simon Jenkins, BBC Sussex.

The Langney Shopping Centre collapse would have been a ‘tragedy’ with ‘many fatalities’ if it had happened during the day, according to building control.

Firefighters were called out to the shopping centre at 4.38am when fire alarms started to sound. They arrived on scene to find part of the roof had collapsed, leaving a hole measuring around 10 metres.

The hole was above the square in the shopping centre, where customers of the Windmill Restaurant sit.

Paul Dunstall, assistant building control manager for East Sussex Building Control Partnership, said, “If this had happened in the day there would have been many fatalities.

“It would have been a tragedy and it would have made the national news.”

Mr Dunstall expressed his sympathies for the shop keepers looking forward to Christmas sales but added, “It couldn’t have come at a worse time of year for those businesses, but in terms of human cost it could have been a lot worse.” Christa Fernandes, who works at Family Bargains, said it would have been the busiest week of the year.

She added, “There are always loads of mums with babies in prams and small kids too.

“Someone could have been so badly hurt.”

The whole area, including the car park, was cordoned off yesterday (December 20).