SAFETY concerns have been raised after parts of a crumbling building which budget chain Aldi is set to demolish fell onto a woman walking below.

The dilapidated building, in The Broadway, Wickford, is set to be taken over by the supermarket giant as part of expansion plans for its current store just a few feet away.

The woman had a near miss when a piece of sheet metal fell and and hit her.

She wasn’t seriously injured, but Wickford resident of 34 years, Brian Levett, who witnessed the incident, said it was only down to luck she wasn’t.

The 73-year-old told the Echo: “I came out of Santander and as I walked around corner where the old cab office is, a piece of the building fell off and it just caught this lady.

“I asked if she was okay and luckily she was. If it had been a baby and pram it could’ve been a very different story and would have been a court case.

“The building needs to go - the woodwork is rotten and whatever is held by the woodwork. The building is falling apart.

“I have lived here [for] more than 30 years and it’s a disgrace the way the town is now.

“Everything is turning into flats now without any consultation with the people here. The whole town needs a revamp.”

David Harrison, a Wickford Independent on Basildon Council also raised concerns.

He said: “The building is in a dilapidated state and very loose.

“The piece that came off was sheet metal which would’ve flattened someone had it hit hard. It needs sorting out quite urgently, as it is a major safety issue.

“Something needs to be done before anything else happens.”

Aldi plans to increase its current shop floor from 980sq m to 1,254 sq m, making it the same size as about 12 tennis courts.

The company has bought historic buildings, at 2 to 12 The Broadway, which will provide the additional space.

If agreed, the historic buildings will be demolished to allow for the extra space.

A spokesman for the budget supermarket said: “We are pleased to have had so much support for our plans to build a new store in Wickford and hope to begin work on preparing the site next month.”