THERE are serious concerns over the safety of Yate’s biggest and newest supermarket, the Gazette can reveal.
Town councillors are worried that the Tesco Extra store, in Yate Shopping Centre, poses a real risk to customers.
At a recent full town council meeting, they called into question the stability of the 10,000 square feet structure, the second largest Tesco in the South West, after loose cabling and large sheets of retaining material were spotted falling from the ceiling of an underground car park.
Cllr Mike Robbins said the retail unit, built over two stories on stilts above the large car park, was ‘an accident waiting to happen’.
He told the Gazette: "If I was doing a risk assessment on the place it would completely fail. Cables and retaining materials are falling down and water is coming through the ceiling as well. Nothing has been repaired since the building was put up.
"I am not a structural engineer but I wouldn’t park in the underground car park. The problem is nobody knows how serious this is."
Cllr Robbins has been making continual return visits to the supermarket, which opened just 15 months ago, to check on the situation. On one occasion just before Christmas, he was so concerned for the safety of drivers parking in the car park beneath the store he reported it to Tesco staff.
"I went to tell someone it was an accident waiting to happen and during the conversation an accident did happen," he said. "A piece of cabling carrying a gurder had fallen down out of the roof of the car park and a van had gone into it.
"It could have been a really serious accident and at the very least I would have expected staff to stop cars using that particular lane and put signs up stopping other vehicles but they didn’t and cars were still whizzing by."
Cllr Robbins said he had since found electrical cabling tied up with a piece of string and on Tuesday this week, water was still gushing out the roof of the car park.
Tesco has failed to respond to any correspondence from Yate Town Council about the concerns over the car park and councillors said since the store opened in October 2011 it had had little contact with the company. The council has agreed to raise the issue at the next Yate Town Centre Strategy meeting.
A spokesman for the shopping centre said the problems in the underground car park had been picked up and would be addressed imminently. No-one from Tesco was available for comment.