Ma­jor fire preven­tion works pro­posed for Brod­ick Cas­tle

‘An early ap­pli­ca­tion is be­ing sought with a view to works be­ing un­der­taken next year’

The Arran Banner - - Front Page - by COLIN SMEETON ed­i­tor@ar­ran­ban­

A plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion has been lodged with North Ayr­shire Coun­cil for ma­jor fire preven­tion work to be un­der­taken at Brod­ick Cas­tle. Work will in­clude an up­grade of the fire de­tec­tion sys­tem as well as a new fire­fight­ing lift and the re­place­ment of var­i­ous doors and win­dows.

The de­tailed ap­pli­ca­tion, for the A-listed build­ing in­cludes in ex­cess of 63 plans and draw­ings as well as listed build­ing con­sent to bring the cas­tle up to date with fire reg­u­la­tions and bet­ter com­pli­ance with the Fire Scot­land Act of 2005.

A fire risk as­sess­ment in 2009 and 2010 deemed the cas­tle to be non-com­pli­ant with reg­u­la­tions and de­ter­mined that ‘the build­ing is likely to prove de­fence­less in the event that a fire takes hold’.

The re­mote lo­ca­tion, lim­ited re­sources of is­land fire ser­vices be­ing able to pro­vide ‘the weight of at­tack re­quired’, as well as the lack of com­part­men­tal­isa- tion and nu­mer­ous voids within the build­ing, were cited as fac­tors that could likely see the to­tal loss of the cas­tle if a fire were to take hold.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there was a lack of fa­cil­i­ties for fire­fight­ing crews to be able to deal ef­fi­ciently with a largescale blaze.

A fire­fight­ing lift would have the ad­di­tional ben­e­fit of pro­vid­ing an al­ter­na­tive es­cape route for up­per­floor oc­cu­pants and al­low the build­ing to com­ply fully with ac­cess leg­is­la­tion en­abling wheel­chair users full ac­cess to all floors.

Pos­si­ble loss or dam­age to the 13th-cen­tury cas­tle, which houses the Na­tional Trust for Scot­land’s most valu­able col­lec­tion of art­works, was de­scribed as be­ing dis­as­trous in cul­tural and his­toric terms as well as hav­ing an ad­verse effect on the is­land econ­omy.

A Na­tional Trust for Scot­land spokesper­son said: ‘Brod­ick Cas­tle presents a num­ber of chal­lenges in meet­ing re­quire­ments that have emerged from new leg­is­la­tion, but nev­er­the­less we must take all pos­si­ble steps to en­sure the safety and well­be­ing of vis­i­tors, staff, vol­un­teers and the col­lec­tions.

‘An early ap­pli­ca­tion is be­ing sought with a view to works be­ing un­der­taken next year.

‘Once per­mis­sion is in place, we will be in a po­si­tion to is­sue ten­ders and ar­range con­tracts to al­low the works to go ahead.’

The pro­pos­als are a re­duc­tion from an ear­lier fea­si­bil­ity study which would have seen a full fire sup­pres­sion sys­tem be­ing in­stalled.

If plan­ning per­mis­sion is ob­tained, all work will be scru­ti­nised and de­tailed in­ves­ti­ga­tions un­der­taken with var­i­ous bod­ies who will over­see, record and re­duce the im­pact of the works.

Brod­ick cas­tle houses more than 800 years worth of trea­sures within its red sand­stone walls.01_B35­cas­tle01

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