HUNDREDS of decorative tiles on the Church Street frontage of the Mall shopping centre in Blackburn may never be replaced after two fell into the thoroughfare within weeks.
They were removed in September after the second crashed 40 feet onto the pavement, narrowly missing a diner on the open-air terrace of Butler’s Market cafe below.
Mall general manager Loraine Jones revealed there was no question of replacement work beginning before Christmas and said the tiles might never go back up.
Daniel Moffett, owner of Butler’s family restaurant, welcomed the decision to leave any repair and refurbishment work until the New Year but questioned whether leaving the frontage bare was a good idea.
The tiles had been in place since the £68million Mall development was completed two years ago.
The two tile falls inside five weeks concerned market traders and saw a dramatic fall in custom at the cafe which was due to spend almost £5,000 on a new continental cafe-style open air terrace with an alcohol licence.
Ms Jones said: “Nothing will happening to replace the tiles on the frontage before Christmas.
“We do not want to interfere with the Christmas trading at the market and the Mall. It is possible that we will never replace the tiles. We may leave the frontage as it is.
“This is something we will be consulting with our engineers Vinci about.
“Whatever we do we want to get it right.
“We do not want any repeat of the tile falls.”
Mr Moffett said: “I agree with not doing any work before Christmas and I certainly want the Mall to get it right.
“The tile falls we had were bad enough but it would have been far worse if they had hit someone.
“I am not convinced about leaving the tiles off and doing nothing. It would not look good.
“They should do something with frontage.”
Malcolm Marsden, owner of Whitaker’s Butchers in the market hall, said: “I certainly don’t want them to do anything before Christmas and disturb our seasonal trade.
“Whatever the Mall decide to do, we want them to make sure they do the right thing.”