Crumbling walls could have caused
Concrete lumps falling from police station
Ashford police station became so dangerous with falling lumps of concrete that it could have killed someone, a report claims.
Chartered surveyors from Collier Stevens were brought in by Kent Police to assess the safety of the police station in Tufton Street, and their findings have been revealed following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Kentish Express.
The report highlights that there have been concerns about lumps of concrete from the exterior cladding of the building falling off since 2006, and it states that the problem is only going to get worse.
The six-storey block was built in 1968, with the exterior made up of concrete panels which are held in place by steel pegs.
But because of corrosion, steel enforcement in the panels had become exposed through a process called spalling, leaving pebbles and concrete liable to fall onto people walking below.
The report, which was given to Kent Police in October 2015, states: “Over the past eight or nine years, regular and ongoing maintenance has been carried out to the this building.
“These repairs, too, are beginning to fail because the adjacent, previously sound, areas of concrete are now deteriorating and causing both the old and new sections to be pushed away from the building.
“During our inspection we were able to remove several large sec- tions of concrete at least 300mm in length and 60mm in breadth. Were these to fall away they would cause very significant and fatal damage at ground level.”
The report also found that in 2015, the rooftop parapet panels, which weigh-in at nearly a ton, were unsupported and could have fallen with devastating effect.
Inspectors found that Kent Police’s initial scaffolding put up in 2015 was inadequate and posed an “immediate safety risk”.
In their conclusion, the inspec- tors said: “The failure of larger sections of concrete can be expected and there is a significant risk that the exposure of the panels securing pegs will result in the panels becoming unstable.
“We are of the view that, as far as the external envelope is concerned, it is at the end of its usual serviceable life.”
What do you think? Write to Kentish Express, Unit 4, Park Mall, Ashford TN24 8RY or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The station under construction in 1968 and, right, after its opening the following year with an unmarked Austin Cambridge police car
A photograph taken looking towards Church Road with the site of the present police station on the left, pre-construction