Fears that Lucy Tower car park will not open for Christmas Market
Traders fear the Lucy Tower multi-storey car park in Lincoln will not re-open in time for this year's Christmas Market.
The 458-space car park has been out of action since March 25, when it was closed for a £1.4 million repair and maintenance job expected to last 20 weeks.
But contractors were forced to down tools in June after they cut concrete away from the building's steel supports and discovered rust damage was much worse than expected.
An experts' report was handed to the City of Lincoln Council on Friday, August 23 which outlines a range of options to bring the car park back into use. But it is unclear if it will open ahead of the Christmas Market starting on December 5.
Council leader Ric Metcalfe said it was "economical to repair".
He added: "We plan to move ahead with these works as soon as possible to ensure the structure is safe and fit for purpose, while extending its useful life for the foreseeable future.
"We are in negotiation with our contractor on the timetable of works and expect to have details finalised in the next week. We will release full details of our plans at that time."
The council is now negotiating the work timescale with its contractor and has not released any details on how much it will cost, or how long it will take.
Alan Sandall, who runs the Royal William IV pub, on the Brayford Waterfront, said: "I very much doubt the car park will open for the Christmas Market.
"It's going to hit businesses hard.
"We have had a decent summer but we don't know how much business we have lost.
"One couple told me they parked some way out because they didn't know anywhere closer to park.
"Alternative car parking is signposted but spaces are full.
"It should not take ten weeks for the council to get a quote for whatever needs doing and for them to agree to go for that."
Michael Armstrong, Lincoln BIG's events and promotions manager, said the group has not been given any information about the car park for five weeks since the last Brayford Business Forum.
He added: "They said the car park's going to be open by the Christmas Market but I have not had any update on it.
"We don't know the extent of the work that needs to be done and there's no one working on the site."
Laura Tatu, manager of Prezzo restaurant, said: "We need some answers as to what's happening with this car park."
Councillor Neil Murray, portfolio holder for planning policy and economic regeneration, said: "Refurbishment means doing whatever work needs doing to make it safe to use for a number of years to come to recoup the money spent on it.
"We have to look at the scientific evidence and work out what's cost effective on behalf of the taxpayer."