MORE than three thousand panels on the new Hilton Hotel development will receive additional fixings “to ensure public safety”, meaning the emergency road closure around the building remains while the remedial work continues into January.

An exclusion zone has been in place around the development, closing part of Victoria Way and forcing road diversions around the town, since several exterior panels fell off the new building on October 20.

Council leader Ayesha Azad told the full council meeting last night that developer Sir Robert McAlpine (SRM) and its cladding subcontractor, Prater, had been working to understand why the cladding failed and what action is necessary to address the situation.

“In the short term, to ensure public safety, Prater has commenced the installation of additional temporary fixings to over 3,000 panels. This work will continue into January next year,” she said. “Until this work is complete, the road will remain closed.

“SRM is responsible for rectifying this issue under its design and build contract.”

Three weeks ago, Woking Borough Council said a check of all the exterior panels of the building had been completed, as had “an initial investigation into the panel failure” by the developer.

Although SRM was said at the time to be “considering its findings”, it has yet to give any explanation for the falling panels. Instead, WBC announced a longer disruption to the daily journeys around that busy stretch of the town, saying the emergency road closure would remain throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

“The council and SRM fully understand the disruption caused by the emergency closure and the knock-on effect it is having on people’s daily journeys,” said WBC chief executive Julie Fisher. “We collectively apologise for the ongoing inconvenience and thank everyone for their patience. A safe resolution is our main priority, and we are working with all parties on a daily basis to progress the works as quickly as possible.”