The new coronavirus Site Operating Procedures require, among other things, that site workers must remain two metres away from each other as much as possible. This was not feasible at Beeston Square.
The £50m mixed-use development forms part of the regeneration of the area, with an eight-screen cinema and 132 new flats.
Bowmer & Kirkland announced on 19th March that it would shut any site where the Covid-19 risk could not be contained. It said then: “We are continuing to assess all our sites on an individual basis for their safety. Where it is becoming increasingly impossible to maintain at least two metres distance between operatives and safety and welfare on site is in danger of diminishing, we will shut down those sites. If people cannot get to site whilst complying with PHE social distancing guidance, then they should not do this. If we do not have the correct number and type of people on site to safely undertake works, then we will not do it – and even if there are sufficient numbers and types of people to undertake works safely, but this cannot be done in compliance with PHE guidance, then the works will not be done.”
With regard to the Beeston Square project, contracts manager Mike Atkinson said: “In light of the current world pandemic, B+K has decided that productive work on site will be suspended with immediate effect, due to it being impossible to adhere to the social distancing guidelines from the government.
“We will be carrying out a stringent site close down procedure for the next 48 hours ensuring that the site is left and maintained in a safe and secure condition until such time as the risk has reduced to an acceptable level with manageable procedures in place.”
The client is fully supportive. Councillor Greg Marshall from Broxtowe Borough Council’s project board said: “The primary concern is the safety and wellbeing of Bowmer & Kirkland’s site workers and our members of staff. It is important that we do all we can in maintaining social distancing when and where possible. We are still fully committed to this exciting development, but we will only resume work when it is appropriate to do so.
“Work had been able to continue for a few days further because it was purely exterior and allowed social distancing to be observed. However, the next phase of construction does not permit this.
“We very much look forward to continuing our working relationship with Bowmer & Kirkland when development resumes in what is a fundamentally important project for both the town and the local community.”
Brian Gilligan, director of cinema operator Melcorpo Group, added: “We fully support the decision to stop development work at the Beeston Square site. The health and safety of all concerned with the works is obviously of paramount importance at the moment. We are of course looking forward to opening the cinema in the fullness of time and working with the council to ensure that the cinema is the roaring success that we are sure it will be.”