Crum­bling walls could have caused

Con­crete lumps fall­ing from po­lice sta­tion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Danger Warnings - By Ai­dan Bar­low

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 ken­tish­ex­press@thek­m­group.co.uk

The sta­tion un­der con­struc­tion in 1968 and, right, af­ter its open­ing the fol­low­ing year with an un­marked Austin Cam­bridge po­lice car

Pic­ture: Re­flec­tions

A pho­to­graph taken look­ing to­wards Church Road with the site of the present po­lice sta­tion on the left, pre-con­struc­tion

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