Pool needs remedial works for safety

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ANNAN Swimming Pool requires remedial works to ensure the safety of the public, it was revealed this week.

The building contains the same potentially dangerous concrete panels as some schools in the region, according to council chiefs.

While there is no suggestion of any immediate danger, the reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) which has been found in the building has raised concerns.

This construction material has been linked to the collapse of a primary school roof in Kent and forced the closure of more than 100 schools in England.

The matter was raised at the council’s finance committee on Tuesday where councillors signed off a repair bill of £500,000 to remove these dangerous concrete panels at Laurieknowe, Carrutherstown, and Gatehouse primaries and Dumfries Academy.

Paul McCulloch, the council’s property estates and programmes manager, said: “This initial ask is for £500,000 to address the initial remedial works required.

“We go onto talk about the need for a RAAC removal programme longer term. It’s quite clear that we can’t have RAAC in the estate over the longer period.

“This initial work will address issues that we’ve got currently, but the intention is to come back with fully costed proposals for removal of all RAAC within our estate – both within the schools and within the other building that we’ve identified at Annan Swimming Pool.

“We don’t yet have those costs. They are being worked up at the moment.”

Lochar Councillor Linda Dorward asked: “Do we have any movement from the Scottish Government in terms of reimbursing the funding we’re spending on doing this?”

Paul Garrett, the council’s head of finance and procurement, added: “The Scottish Government have indicated that, to date, they have received no additional UK government funding. Obviously this is a UK-wide issue and the costs in England so far have been met through schools’ own funding.

“So, I think the Scottish Government position is that they’re waiting to see if there’s any additional funding provided at a UK level.

“COSLA leaders agreed last month to write to the UK government to seek support for these costs.”

Laurieknowe Primary in Dumfries has the highest prevalence of RAAC and works are now underway to replace a number of panels. In addition to this, an enhanced monitoring and inspections regime is being adopted.

The concerning panels within Carrutherstown Primary in Dumfries are said to be in “good condition”, however work was undertaken within the October break to introduce additional end bearing support to panels.

At Gatehouse Primary in Castle Douglas and Dumfries Academy, works are being planned over the next three months to introduce additional support to a small number of panels within each school.


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