A BUILDING which suddenly collapsed in Grays has now been demolished - but questions are now being asked as to what caused it.
The floor above the former Marble and Manufacturing Supplies, on the corner of Hampden Road and Hathaway Road, almost completely collapsed at about 4.30pm last Friday.
Luckily, no one was hurt, but two cars were badly damaged – a black Alfa Romeo and a blue MG ZR.
The building has since been demolished, with even the ground floor stripped back to its metal frame. Only the rear of the building is still standing.
The council confirmed the property had been owned by the authority before it was sold for £96,200 late last year.
A local businessman, who did not give his name, said he had bought the derelict site with pre-approved planning permission for it to be converted into two onebedroom flats.
He said: “We bought it in December from the council.
“It’s been derelict for 20 years, with rats and you name it, but we saw a change of use with it and thought it would be a good investment.”
EX-COUNCIL PROPERTY "FALLING APART" 15 YEARS AGO
A council spokesman said the authority’s building control team had visited the site to ensure it was safe and secure, but was unable to provide any details about the cause of the collapse.
One neighbour suggested the building could have been victim to a gas explosion after hearing "a bang."
But Terry Anderson told the Gazette’s Facebook page the building was already “falling apart” when he worked with his stepfather at Marbles and Manufacturing Supplies - 15 years ago.
A planning document prepared by Thurrock Council in January last year also described it as being in a state of severe disrepair.
It said it had been subjected to a large amount of vandalism with damp and water damage in a number of areas.
It continued: “The property has remained empty since the surrender of the last lease on March 24, 2003.”
FALLING BRICKS SMASHED MY CAR
But it wasn't just a headache for the owner of the property - two cars were also smashed as bricks rained down upon them.
Simon Peters, 31, of neighbouring Milton Road, had parked his MG ZR next to the building.
He said: “I got a call to say a building had collapsed on to my car.
“I'd parked it there for the first time because there were no spaces on the road, thinking I’d move it when one became available.
"I do banger racing as a hobby and I’m normally crashing cars into walls – not the other way around.”