Raw Duck demolition despair
11:50 29 November 2013
Several residents have been left homeless and the owners of a new restaurant heartbroken after the row of terraces they occupy was earmarked for demolition this week after suddenly being condemned.
Diners were evacuated from French-inspired wine bar and restaurant Raw Duck on Friday night at around 8pm after the manager went down to the cellar for wine and noticed bricks had fallen away and created a large hole in the wall.
Occupants of Turkish restaurant Cirrik next door were also evacuated as an emergency by the London Fire Brigade, along with the eight residents who lived in the Victorian terrace, which was the only surviving part of the Gibbons Building, a Victorian department store destroyed by fire in 2003.
Controlled demolition by hand of Raw Duck and the three residential properties above it began Monday, so as not to cause further damage to the terrace.
Structural engineers will then see whether they are able to save the rest of the building, where four other people live and Cirrik is based.
Clare Lattin, the co-owner of Raw Duck, which was run along the same lines as its sister restaurant in Soho, Ducksoup, serving simple seasonal fare and biodynamic wines, said the episode has been heartbroken.
“We’re all pretty heartbroken, having poured so much energy and love into it, to have it come to such a drastic and sudden end so quickly,” she said.
“But our foundations just gave way, the party wall actually collapsed.
“We thought they might be able to save it but by 3am Saturday they decided it was a gonner.”
Ms Lattin said the support and kind words from customers have been amazing.
“It’s that support that is helping us pick ourselves up and do what we can to find somewhere else as soon as we can,” she said.
An investigation into the cause is underway. Excavations are taking place in the grounds adjacent to Raw Duck to make way for an 80-room Travel Lodge.
A spokesman for Guernsey-registered company Amhurst Road Properties Ltd, which is building the motel, said they are working with their contractors and the authorities to investigate the likely cause of the structural issues.
“Until that investigation is concluded we are unable to comment further,” he said.
The road opened to pedestrians last night, but will remain closed to vehicles for several more days at its junction with Mare Street to the Pembury Junction, affecting a number of other businesses.
Bus routes are affected and motorists have been advised to avoid the area due to heavy congestion.
The London Overground is continuing to operate from Hackney Central as normal.