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Developer Stefano Di Piazza was fined after builders were found working 10ft high without safety equipment in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey
A PROPERTY developer behind the renovation of town centre shops has been fined for putting the lives of workers at risk.
Builders working on the two empty shops in Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, where nine flats are also being built, were found to be nearly 10 feet from the ground without barriers or ropes.
Developer Stefano Di Piazza, of King Edward Road, Waltham Cross, admitted failing to appoint a competent firm to carry out the work at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court and was fined £10,000.
The hearing, which took place on Tuesday, was brought after inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) visited the building site in February.
They also accused Di Piazza of failing to tell them about the work or appoint a legally-required safety expert to oversee the project.
A notice was served by the HSE to stop all work immediately until safety measures were put in place.
David King, a safety inspector from the HSE, said: “Developers have a big influence on how work is done safely and they have legal duties as the construction client.
“They have to appoint the right people, provide information to the team and make sure there are suitable management arrangements and a health and safety plan in place.
“Mr Di Piazza blatantly disregarded the importance of a safe working site, leaving the workers at Sun Street in serious and unnecessary danger.”
The main building firm working on the site was fined at a previous hearing.
Builders are not currently thought to be working on the shops, which the Di Piazza family applied for planning permission to rebuild and add nine flats to in 2009.
One unit, a former clothes shop at number 8, had stood empty for years and the charity shop next door closed in 2008, attracting complaints from neighbouring traders that the buildings made Sun Street look run down.
The hoardings put up around the shops while work was carried out were blamed for the cancellation of the 2010 Cavalcade of Light procession by Waltham Abbey Town Council.