Updates on Colliers Wood Tower (Britannia Point)

Monday 11 July at 5.30pm

Following a site inspection today, the closure of the Piazza area and Christchurch Road will need to remain in place until Sunday July 17, as the scaffolding work to secure the west elevation of the building will not now be completed until then. While good progress has been made, we are not willing to take any risk that could put any resident in jeopardy

However we are in a position to allow Costa to reopen and they are being advised tonight.

The most appropriate order of events is for the scaffolding to be completed by Wates during the course of this week, after which time Christchurch Road and Colliers Wood High Street can be reopened to vehicles. An assessment this morning has identified a risk that traffic would not flow exactly as it should until the scaffolding work is complete.

Friday 8 July at 2.30pm

The abseilers have made good progress on the second sweep of the tower (to get the specification details of remaining panels of glass), and we expect this inspection to be completed today. Work will progress this weekend on creating an exclusion area at the back of the building to house materials for the work, while maintaining access for emergency vehicles.

This will then allow us to re-open Christchurch Road and the Plaza area on Monday (July 11), and we expect this to be done by midday, allowing access to traffic and bus routes to return to their normal designated routes.

We need to put scaffolding on the A24/High Street side of the building to allow one of the windows to be made safe. This will be installed over the weekend, meaning we will need to put a lane closure and contraflow system in place tonight from 8pm, remaining in place until 8pm on Tuesday evening (July 12). Once constructed, the scaffolding will sit over the cycle lane on the High Street, so that will need to remain closed while the work is undertaken.

A walkway will be constructed underneath the scaffolding to ensure pedestrian access is unaffected, however while construction of this takes place, a diversion will be put in place, and we will ensure marshals are on site between 7am-7pm each day until Tuesday evening to advise residents as necessary.

Monday 4 July at 4pm

The abseil inspection has continued over the weekend, and we are confident that it should be completed today. Overall, more than 1,050 panes of glass out of a total of 1,350 have been checked so far.

Work continues to finish the scaffolding, the A24 side of the building is complex and will require specialist input. We’re hoping that this should be completed by Sunday.

As a result of the abseil inspection, some of the outside of the building has become a bit dirty where the abseilers feet and ropes have been touching the glass. From certain angles, these marks on the glass can look like cracks, so we’d like to reassure residents and passers-by that they are not cracks, and will disappear after the windows have been cleaned.

The Council’s security contractors continue to be onsite, with support of council officers, to provide reassurance to local residents and to help maintain site safety.

Saturday 2 July at 4.30pm

Abseil inspections are now complete on A24/High Street side of the building, and one external panel of glass has been made safe. The majority of cracks appear to be on internal panels, which don’t pose an external threat and are part of the lifespan of the glass. Any damaged internal panes identified are being made safe. The scaffolding to support the canopy on this side is being designed, and it is likely to be next weekend before any narrowing of the A24 is required to allow for this.

Abseil inspections on the Christchurch Road side are ongoing and nearing completion. We have now erected a more secure Heras-style fencing to allow pedestrian access along Christchurch Road, and have informed the shops they can now re-open.

Officers from the council and from Kingdom will remain on site throughout the weekend.

Friday 1 July at 4.30pm

Good progress has been made again on the building today, with the abseil inspection now well underway. As per our update last night, additional cracks have been found in some panes of glass, so those areas have had to be made safe, and the work on canopy covers is continuing – resident access areas are all now safe.

One glass panel has been sheeted over, and some others have been taped – on most, the cracks are on the internal sheet of glass, which doesn’t pose the same risk as the external sheets.

On the side facing the A24, work needs to be done to make a first floor window safe. The protective canopy that is being constructed around the building will inevitably take up some of the road lane. We will therefore be putting traffic management in place to avoid closing this busy road, but the reduction of a lane and the introduction of a traffic management system is likely to be required.

The closures and barriers we advised you of last night remain in place, and over the weekend we hope to be able to pull these back or remove them as further progress is made.

However, the abseil team has not yet managed to complete the side of the building facing Christchurch Road. Unfortunately, this means the exclusion zone must remain in place until we can be satisfied that side of the building has either been cleared as safe, or that necessary actions are in place to make an panels safe as required.

This means we cannot yet re-open Christchurch Road, which unfortunately does mean the businesses that have had to shut will remain closed. We are however on site and talking to businesses – in particular, we are exploring a way to maintain the exclusion zone while allowing some access along the shop fronts for people to access the Post Office, as it is used by some local residents for vital services such as the collect pensions.

Friday 1 July at 8am

Further safety testing on the glazing was undertaken yesterday and we can confirm that further cracks have been identified on another pane of glass. Inspections stopped last night due to the wind conditions, but work is resuming at 8am today.

As a further precautionary measure; we extended the safety cordon around the site last night as follows:


  • We have put barriers around the Piazza and Christchurch Road, closing the road off.
  • The cordon extends to the footway on the east side of Christchurch Rd (including the shopping area).
  • The pathway is also closed to the public, but will remain open for residents access only (those living directly above the shops)
  • Businesses will be notified that they should also close; and will be informed when it is safe to re-open. We are already in contact with local businesses.
  • Colliers Wood Underground Station will remain accessible, as per our earlier communications.
  • There will be no pedestrian access to Christchurch Rd (north of Colwood Gardens) and no pedestrian access from Christchurch Road to South Gardens.

Vehicle and emergency access:

  • There will be no access to South Gardens from Christchurch Road.
  • Residents in South Gardens, North Gardens and Valley Gardens will be able to enter and exit via Valley Gardens at Colliers Wood High Street.
  • The bollards on Valley Gardens will be opened for vehicles.

School access:

  • School staff will be able to access Singlegate Primary via Valley Gardens
  • Parents and children walking to school; should access South Gardens via Valley Gardens or Colliers Wood Rec – Christchurch Rd will be inaccessible
  • Driving to school is discouraged, but if absolutely necessary, access will be via Valley Gardens.
  • South Gardens at Christchurch Road will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians.

Thursday 30 June at 3pm

Good progress has been made overnight with the covers over the resident entrance, and we now expect to have the entire outer edge of the building covered by Monday morning. This will allow us to remove the existing barriers and re-open Christchurch Road to traffic, while ensuring the safety of passers-by and building residents. It also means businesses can open as usual on Monday (Co-Op is still open at present).

In order to complete this work as quickly as possible, there will be some disruption and overnight work.

The abseil inspection is currently underway, and this will identify any further issues the windows on the building.

We will continue to have a 24-hour presence on site across the weekend to advise and assist residents.

Further inspections have been carried out today, and the council has met again this afternoon with partners including fire, police, and representatives from Criterion Capital who manage the building, as well as a glass specialist with experience of these types of installations.

Wednesday 29 June at 8.30pm

Tomorrow morning, an abseil inspection will begin on the building, led by Criterion Capital. Every pane of glass will be inspected for any issues, and the technical marking on each window will allow Criterion to understand the origin of each pane and determine the next steps on any replacement work.

However, keeping residents safe while this happens is our top priority. To ensure this we have worked together to agree some further immediate actions:

  • We have left an area un-barriered to allow residents access to the building, and one for access to the Co-Op. To be truly safe these areas need to be covered – and the priority must of course be the resident entrance.
  • This evening contractors will be on site to erect a temporary hard cover over the entrance area. This will ensure all residents are safe as they use the walkway to enter and leave.
  • We will also be looking to extend this temporary covering along the Co-Op side of the building. As this will take longer, we will need to move the barrier further out to the edge of the pavement. This means the Co-Op will need to close until the second cover is installed, but it will be the next priority once the entrance is secured.
  • To ensure residents are reassured and informed, the council will be placing two officers on site throughout the night tonight, who can answer any questions and be a point of contact should it be required.