Hughes And Salvidge Demolish Southampton’s Oldest Shopping Centre

17th July 2014

After failing to achieve a high level of commercial success and becoming something of an eyesore in the city, East Street Shopping Centre, the first purpose-built shopping centre in Southampton, has been demolished by Hughes and Salvidge.

The building is making way for a brand new 60,000 sq2 Morrisons supermarket as part of regeneration plans.

After being contracted for the project, it took Hughes and Salvidge a total of three months to demolish the structure which encompassed the two-storey shopping centre and a car park with vehicle access ramp at its summit.

It involved soft stripping the inside of the building before an archaeological survey was conducted, leading to the discovery of several exciting artefacts from medieval times. Any asbestos material present was then stripped away and disposed of with due care.

Though primarily consisting of reinforced concrete, the location of the plot proved something of a hindrance as our company director Martyn Burnett explained: “The East Street Shopping Centre was part of a larger group of buildings that included a ten storey office building which remained occupied throughout the project. Certain portions of the building were also located to nearby roads, footpaths and residential dwellings, all of which had to be taken into consideration.”

Vibration, noise and air pollution monitoring points were established throughout the site before any mechanical demolition took place. We also communicated with nearby residents to ensure they were full aware of the extent of the work taking place and any disruptions to local transport links.

Such a demanding demolition job required a full armoury of machinery including 50 tonne excavators, Dust Boss water cannons, Brokk demolition robots, midi-sized excavators and skid steers. Pulveriser attachments were utilised in conjunction with the larger excavators to demolish a large quantity of the shopping centre: “We used concrete pulverisers as oppose to hydraulic breakers in order to minimise noise and vibration. It is probably a more protracted process, but reduces the impact of the operation on those living and working around us”, says Martyn.

A mini Brokk demolition robot was also put into operation to help take away several cantilever sections of the structure which were overhanging adjacent buildings. It works particularly well in restricted areas unsuitable for many other forms of equipment with it being remote-controlled.

Other arms of the business had involvement in the project too with H&S Metals taking care of any scrap metal and KandB Crushers taking responsibility for the concrete rubble, “Having our own in-house, licensed recycling capability means we offer a genuine peace of mind for our clients that arisings are transported and processed in accordance with current protocols and regulations”, says Martyn.

The levelling of East Street Shopping Centre has reinstated the thoroughfare between the East Street area of the city and the St Mary’s district, helping reunite the two areas, which will play a vital role in the regeneration plans.

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