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Elephant & Castle closed after cladding falls from office block

The Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre was closed on Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning after a glass cladding panel shattered at Hannibal House.

Hannibal House
Hannibal House on Wednesday morning
Elephant & Castle closed after cladding falls from office block
Abseilers remove the broken cladding panel
Abseilers remove the broken cladding panel from Hannibal House
Missing cladding at Hannibal House
The missing panel which caused hours of disruption for shoppers, traders and commuters

"Yesterday a glass panel from the curtain walling high up on Hannibal House was broken, causing the glass to shatter," explains Mike Knell, manager of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre.

"For health and safety reasons the Borough Surveyor asked police to close the road whilst maintenance teams abseiled over the top of the building to ensure that the remaining glass was safe."

The shopping centre was taped off and the Northern Line entrance to Elephant & Castle Underground Station was closed.

Pedestrians were barred from the subways and the normally busy market outside the shopping centre was deserted.

Traffic was unable to use the southbound carriageway between the shopping centre and the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Mid-morning on Wednesday both the northern and southern roundabouts were closed whilst abseilers removed the remains of the damaged glass panel at the top of Hannibal House.

The shopping centre and surrounding pavements reopened to traffic soon after 11am.

The closures caused substantial disruption to traffic and bus services, with dozens of buses stuck in London Road.

Mr Knell added: "We believe this was an isolated incident and following close collaboration between us and the emergency services the situation was resolved quickly and with minimum disruption to the public.

"Maintaining a safe environment is of the utmost importance to the management of the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, and we therefore carry out regular maintenance and continual inspection of the building fabric to ensure it is safe for our visitors."

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