SHOPPERS are fed up after weeks of disruption at Rugby’s Clock Towers Shopping Centre which has seen flooding, closed toilets and broken lifts.
But this week the centre’s boss has said staff are doing everything they can to try and fix the ongoing problems.
Manager Tony Spencer said: “We’re having some work done on the car park at the moment which has caused some flooding. The main thing is we’re working really hard to get things moving and we are sorting it out. We’re doing what we can with the budget we’ve got.”
The Clock Towers has a long history of leaks but more and more buckets catching rainwater have become commonplace in recent weeks following repair work to the car park, which has caused numerous problems.
In September heavy rainfall caused a number of shops to temporarily close as water poured through the ceiling into the shopping centre.
The flood put the majority of toilets out of action - except the disabled one on the ground floor - although most of them have now reopened.
Two of the lifts have also been out of order for a number of weeks, leaving shoppers infuriated.
Shopper Chris Cartwright, who photographed up to around 19 buckets in one location in the centre last week, said: “I understand that there is work going on to rectify the situation but it baffles me as to why it has taken so long for it to be done. It would seem that the leaky roof is a bit of a talking point amongst locals and social networking sites. It’s a sorry state when the ‘main attraction’ in town is in such disrepair. It doesn’t really make a good impression.”
Another shopper Denis O’keeffe added: “Judging by the mess in our so called wonderful shopping centre, it looks like hurricane Sandy has hit it with the force of ten. Is this natures way of telling us that the whole building needs knocking down and rebuilding? Because soon they are going to run out of buckets.”
Mr Spencer said that a lot of the ongoing problems date back to when the shopping centre was built in the 1970s.
He said: “There are significant problems with the construction of the building because of how it was built back in the 70s. These repairs are to put that right. The work had to be done. When you drive on it you forget that not only is it a car park but it’s a roof as well.”
Mr Spencer admitted that the reason the repairs have taken so long is due to money.
He said: “All these repairs cost a considerable amount of money. We’re talking around half a million pounds. With those kinds of figures, in this economic climate we’re in at the moment, does not help. Around half a million pounds can not just be found easily.”
Mr Spencer apologised for the inconvenience of the toilet closures following the flood but said they have just been reopened, apart from the disabled toilet on the upper floor which still needs more work.
He said: “We had to close them for health and safety reasons. It was disappointing that we lost the toilets. We tried to get them back up and running as soon as possible.”
Mr Spencer said all the lifts are now back up and running after one was maliciously damaged, while another had to be completely rebuilt after it broke.
The Advertiser has received numerous complaints about the shopping centre in recent weeks.
Claire Lomax said: “Pull it down. It’s never been very good. It’s hardly surprising we don’t have a thriving shopping area. It’s dangerous, I’ve almost fallen over buckets or wet patches many times.”
Louise Ryder said: “It’s been leaking since I was about 14. So that’s 12 years of buckets and puddles being around the building.”
Karen May added: “Come on sort this place out, it’s shameful to Rugby.”
The first phase of the work, which will be followed by a second, should be complete at the end of November depending on weather conditions.
Mr Spencer added: “The toilets are back open now an we are continuing to get things back to normal as soon as possible. We are working with contractors to make things better.
“There is a lot of things going on and a lot of work going on to make things better in the long term.”