Hotel's front porch destroyed in lorry crash
The front porch of a hotel came crashing to the ground after it was hit by a lorry delivering goods to the local Co-Operative supermarket.
The porch roof, concrete slabs, two concrete pillars, brickwork and a huge plant were smashed to pieces in front of the Burton Hotel, in Kington, near the Shropshire border with Herefordshire, on Tuesday night.
The inside of the first floor could be seen through a couple of holes in the front wall’s masonry.
Police cordons were put in place around the front of the hotel, which was fully booked with 35 people staying for the night. Fortunately, nobody was standing under the porch or passing by when the incident happened.
But hotel owner John Richardson was forced to move guests from four rooms at the front of the hotel into new self-catering units in the Burton’s garden, because of safety concerns.
There were also people in the bar, many of them stayed on after the incident to watch Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final against Roma.
About 35 Hereford and Worcester firefighters attended the scene with four appliances from Kington, Eardisley and Hereford and a technical rescue vehicle with a specialist team from Droitwich, who made sure the building was safe overnight.
A visibly shaken Mr Richardson said: “I was in the restaurant and I heard a noise and the whole building felt like it was moving. I knew instinctively that someone had hit the porch because over the years people have nudged it before. Stupidly perhaps, I just walked out of the front door and there was rubble and dust everywhere, I just could not believe it.
“Over the years about four or five times people have skirted past the porch but it has not happened in the last ten years. The Burton Hotel was originally a timber framed coaching inn and in the 1860’s they put a brick frontage on the front of it, you can see that where the porch has come detached from the main wall.”
Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service Incident Commander Neil Lilwall said: “We made an assessment of the inside of the building, to make sure the floors and internal part of the building are still intact.
“A team of Herefordshire Council building control inspectors also attended to assess whether the building was safe and a specialist team from Droitwich made sure the building was safe overnight.
“We get a lot of incidents where vehicles have gone into buildings but it’s not often that we get a call where a vehicle has knocked down part of a building.”
Kington County Councillor Terry James had been attending a meeting in town when he saw the emergency vehicles.
“It is very sad to see the porch in pieces on the ground, it is a very important part of Kington. The porch has been there since the 1800’s and it is used by Radnor and West Hereford Senior Hunt Master Robert Jones every Boxing Day who stands on it to address the crowds below. Historically it was used for the declaration of election results and various royal proclamations were made from there.”
Mr Richardson, who has run the hotel for 32 years, said after a long hard winter, the season had just started off and the hotel will be full of guests throughout the spring and summer. The hotel is open for business as usual.
At the time of going to press, Mill Street was completely closed until further notice.