A LANDSLIDE which happened in a Moorlands town centre at the weekend resulted in a number of shops closing this week. The incident, believed to have been caused by the heavy rain of late, happened at the back of a number of shops in Cheadle's High Street in the early hours of Sunday (September 29) morning. Part of a retaining wall, along with part of what is believed to be a private driveway from St George's Street, came crashing down into the back of some of the High Street properties.
The four shops which have been closed since Monday morning are: The Dougie Mac charity shop, Xtraclean Dry Cleaners, The Samaritans charity shop, and Wrights Pies.
The Samaritan’s ‘Little Charity Shop’ was the worst affected by the landslide after bricks and concrete fell into the rear of the shop causing “significant structural damage” including broken windows.
Shop manager Vikki Barlow told the Times & Echo: “It happened at around 1.30am on Sunday morning.
“Our shop was the worst hit with significant structural damage, and the shops either side have also suffered.
“The structural engineer has told us to stay out of the shops as there is a huge piece of the driveway precariously balanced on debris that has gone through our rear upstairs window.”
Luckily no one was in the building at the time of the incident, as the upstairs rooms of the charity shop are used as sorting rooms rather than as residential accommodation.
Vikki said that she felt “sad, devastated and overwhelmed” when she saw the damage caused to the shop. She added: “It’s frightening to think it could have come down at anytime.
“Myself and a colleague had been sorting through stock in that upstairs room on Saturday afternoon.
“I am just grateful it happened when no one was there.”
Vikki has started an online fund-raising campaign following this incident to recoup loss of business at the charity shop.
Dawn Mycock, who runs Xtraclean Dry Cleaners in Cheadle, told the Times & Echo: “It is horrific what has happened.
“Obviously we are all thankful that no one was hurt.
“Someone could have died if they had been in that alleyway when it came down.”
Dawn said that she had “no idea’ when her shop would be back open in Cheadle. She said: “It’s one of those situations where we are just going to have to wait.
“In a way, we are lucky in that we pick up a lot of our work and we can take it to one of our other shops to clean, either at Leek or in Ashbourne.
“But as far as the items in the Cheadle shop, we have been advised at the moment to only enter at our own risk as it looks like the bank which has fallen is getting worse and the rain is continuing.
“We will be looking at going in, sometime soon, to get the garments which are in there to take them to our Leek shop to be cleaned and ask people to collect them from there, or we could possibly have an agent at another business in Cheadle where people could collect their garments.”
The Dougie Mac charity shop’s fire exit is currently blocked by the debris from the landslide, and therefore, as a precautionary measure, the charity has taken the decision that the store will not be trading.
Head of Retail for Dougie Mac, Liz Clarke, said: “Due to circumstances beyond our control we are sorry that we are currently unable to serve the local community as usual in our Cheadle store. “However, the safety of our staff and volunteers is paramount and as such we are unable to open for the time being.
“It is not currently known how long the shop will remain closed. The closure could cost the hospice thousands of pounds per week in lost revenue.”
When the Times and Echo contacted the Wrights Foods Group, a spokesman said “We cannot comment on the situation of the Cheadle Wrights Pies Shop as it is a franchise.”
Staffordshire Police attended the site to cordon off the affected area on St George’s Street. A spokesman for the force said: “We put up some tape for public safety reasons but it’s the responsibility of the local authority to deal with this type of thing.
“However, PCSOs will keep an eye out and give help where needed.”
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council confirmed that a building control inspector visited the site at the weekend and advised some occupiers to vacate their shops and properties.
A spokesman for the authority said: “A follow-up visit has taken place today (Monday) to assess what needs to happen next and temporary fencing has been installed to prevent access in the meantime.”
Cheadle Town Mayor councillor Ian Plant said he was thankful that no one was hurt during the incident.
He said: “It is a worry what has happened. It’s a worry that, as Prince George Street is so high up compared to the High Street buildings, that it could happen anywhere along there.”
Mr Plant added: “I am concerned about the businesses which this has affected.”
Fellow Cheadle town councillor Rickard Alcock said: “I am happy that no one has been hurt but if we’re not careful we will have more (of that wall) coming down.”
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