WOKING has suffered another fall of cladding from a high building just a year after exterior panels came off the newly-constructed Hilton Hotel on Victoria Way.

On Wednesday last week, a panel dislodged from Albion House and landed in Church Path, which leads from the railway station to the town centre, forcing the closure of the pedestrian walkway.

Woking Borough Council, via social media, said: “As a precaution and, to ensure the safety of pedestrians, we have taken the decision to close Church Path. As the owners of Albion House, we have contacted specialist contractors to inspect the building before we can put the necessary safety measures in place to allow the reopening of Church Path.

“Businesses impacted by the closure have been notified and some will remain closed whilst inspection of the building continues.”

Roland Foxcroft, the proprietor of the Cellar Magnifique bar on Church Path, watched the drama unfold.

“When I became aware of the panel having come loose I dashed to get a picture of it, but as soon as I thought of trying to ring the council to warn them it had come down.

“It didn’t seem to hang there long, it only felt like seconds before it fell. We only open in the evening, so we were closed at the time, but we wouldn’t have been going outside to look at it!”

Church Path reopened on Monday after scaffolding was erected over the weekend to create a safety corridor for pedestrians and to allow access to businesses.

“We had to close from the Wednesday, so I’m just pleased to be open again,” Roland added.  “I’m hoping our customers aren’t bothered by the scaffolding, it’s for their safety, and we still have the same wonderful wines and cheeses. We’re definitely open for business.”

The council added: “Officers continue to monitor the building and we continue to liaise with Kier, who managed the refurbishment of the building, and their consultant to understand more about the failure and what actions are needed.

“These investigations are ongoing, but Kier are happy with Church Path reopening with the safety measures in place.

“Officers are in direct contact with affected businesses and providing support where necessary.”

The falling panels from the Hilton Hotel led to a lengthy closure of Victoria Way and extensive remedial work to the cladding. The hotel has yet to open.