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Work resumes on Swains Lane building site where man was killed in explosion

28 June, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

The scene in Swains Lane after the explosion in March

WORK has re-started at a building site in Highgate where tools were downed after the death of a construction worker.

Stephen Hampton, 55, died after a huge explosion tore through the Swains Lane site, which was once home to a petrol station. It is believed the explosion occurred during work to remove disused petrol storage tanks.

He was taken by ambulance to hospital but died from injuries suffered in a blast which shook neighbouring houses in March. An investigation by police and the Health and Safety Executive is continuing, but officials have given developer Noble House, which is building a parade of eight shops and 12 homes, the all-clear to complete demolition work.

The New Journal understands this includes finishing the removal of disused fuel tanks and pipes, which were part of the infrastructure of the former petrol station. Mr Hampton, from Aylesbury, Bucks, was employed by PJL Plant Hire, working for demolition contractor Material Movements.

Poignant tributes to Mr Hampton from family, friends and Swains Lane residents remain at entry gates to the construction site.

Noble House bought the site in 2016 from the Earl of Listowel, who had first mooted a redevelopment scheme more than 10 years ago but failed to win the support of residents and traders for his plans. He finally won planning permission for a two-storey building in 2014 but then sold on the site to Noble House, an Islington-based, high-end property development firm.

It began work in November last year, with the development expected to be finished in 2019.

An HSE spokesman confirmed investigations were continuing. He added: “The Health and Safety Executive is working with the Metropolitan Police following the incident at a site on Swains Lane on March 16 where a man suffered fatal injuries. The investigation, being led by the police, is ongoing. HSE inspectors had served prohibition notices on contractors connected to the site, stopping them from undertaking further works. The notices have now been complied with, allowing work to re­sume.”


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