'Serious structural issues' force immediate evacuation of Belfast apartments
Residents of Victoria Square apartments in Belfast city centre have been forced to immediately evacuated because of "serious structural issues with the building".
The BBC reports a structural issue was identified in February and assessments of the building have led to residents being forced to vacate their homes on Wednesday.
A letter to residents said those apartments along a damaged structural column were affected with repairs taking place as soon as possible. As a result all residents have been told to leave the building.
A spokesman for the management company said the decision to evacuate came at the direction of structural engineers and as a safety precaution.
He said they were expecting a 20-week timescale for the repair work.
It's not thought the shopping centre is affected.
When it was built, there were 106 apartments in the Victoria Square complex with a mix of one, two and three bedroom properties, including penthouses.
The first residents moved into the £400m retail and residential development in 2008.
SDLP Botanic Representative Gary McKeown said: "My first thoughts are with the residents affected by this evacuation. To be told to leave their home with immediate effect will be causing great shock and concern.
"While ensuring the safety of the public is paramount, it is essential that residents are supported over the course of the 20-week period expected for the repairs to be completed.
"I have contacted the management company seeking assurances that residents will get all the assistance they need."
Belfast Telegraph Digital