Ab­ses­tos dis­cov­ery at cam­pus site raises bill by £1m

Lennox Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Jenny Foulds

Plans for Bal­loch’s new su­per­school have hit a £1mil­lion stum­bling block af­ter asbestos was dis­cov­ered on the site.

The Len­nox Her­ald can re­veal that the deadly ma­te­rial was re­cently found be­low the for­mer St Kes­sog’s school build­ing — adding an eye-wa­ter­ing £936,000 to the bill.

West Dun­bar­ton­shire Coun­cil says it could not have fore­seen the ex­tra cost as the asbestos was only found at pre­vi­ously un­ac­ces­si­ble parts of the site.

The set­back will also put the whole project back by 12 weeks, with the cam­pus now due to open in winter 2017.

Coun­cil­lors will be asked to plug the short­fall at a full coun­cil meet­ing next week.

Op­po­si­tion leader Jonathan McColl sided with the lo­cal au­thor­ity and said of­fi­cers couldn’t have known what lay be­neath, com­ment­ing: “To say it’s just one of those things seems too blasé for such a large sum of money, but there re­ally was no way the coun­cil

could have known it was there.

“As is stan­dard prac­tice, records for the site were thor­oughly checked prior to work start­ing, but in the early 60s when St Kes­sog’s was built, asbestos wasn’t con­sid­ered a dan­ger­ous sub­stance, so its pres­ence in the un­der foun­da­tion filler ma­te­rial wasn’t noted.

“There is no asbestos on the rest of the site, just di­rectly un­der the school, so it wasn’t found un­til the school was de­mol­ished and the foun­da­tions dug out.

“The coun­cil will have to de­cide, as part of the bud­get set­ting in Fe­bru­ary next year, how to ac­com­mo­date the in­creased cost of the project in the 10 year cap­i­tal plan.”

Richard Cairns, the coun­cil’s strate­gic direc­tor for re­gen­er­a­tion, en­vi­ron­ment and growth, said: “These are es­sen­tial works which could not have been fore­seen.

“We’re now seek­ing coun­cil ap­proval to al­low the re­me­di­a­tion to be car­ried out as quickly as pos­si­ble and this would al­low us to get to work on build­ing this fan­tas­tic new fa­cil­ity for gen­er­a­tions of young peo­ple.”

Par­ents and car­ers re­ceived a let­ter home yes­ter­day (Tues­day) in­form­ing them of the de­lay.

The new £16.4m cam­pus will be able to ac­com­mo­date 747 pupils and be lo­cated on the site of the for­mer St Kes­sog’s Pri­mary School, which has al­ready been de­mol­ished.

It will house St Kes­sog’s, as well as a new non­de­nom­i­na­tional school cre­ated through the amal­ga­ma­tion of Jamestown and Hal­dane pri­maries, as well as an Ad­di­tional Sup­port Needs Unit and Early Learn­ing and Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre.

A re­port which goes to the full coun­cil next week states that a ground investigat­ion was car­ried out in all ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas prior to the start of the de­mo­li­tion works in Septem­ber last year.

It reads :“A fur­ther ground investigat­ion was car­ried out dur­ing and post-de­mo­li­tion of the St Kes­sog’s build­ing, once all ar­eas could be ac­cessed. Asbestos was found be­low the con­crete floor slab of the for­mer school build­ing as well as in the pre­vi­ously in­ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas of the made ground soils sur­round­ing the for­mer school build­ing.”

The paper adds that the ex­tent of the asbestos does not call the pro­posed use of the site into ques­tion but says it is found at var­i­ous points over the site, mean­ing that the re­me­di­a­tion poses“a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial chal­lenge”.

The coun­cil will need to hire a con­trac­tor to carry out the work and of­fi­cers say it is im­por­tant the con­tract is let as quickly as pos­si­ble.

The funds be­ing used are those which were re-al­lo­cated when the Scot­tish Govern­ment de­cided to fully fund the cap­i­tal for the new Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School.

Of­fi­cers are ask­ing the coun­cil plug the short­fall with £888,000 from the cap­i­tal plan.

The re­main­ing cash will be bridged with sav­ings re­alised from funds al­ready al­lo­cated to the project.

Mas­ter­plan An artist’s im­pres­sion of the Bal­loch school cam­pus

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.