Harrogate’s Liberal Democrats have gone on the attack over the condition of the council’s new multi-million pound headquarters, amid revelations that vinyl used in the building’s stairwells failed regulation requirements.
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Councillor Pat Marsh raised questions over the year-old civic centre at a fiery meeting of council earlier this month – asking for a ‘please explain’ regarding several issues with the building that have required repairs.
Among the issues highlighted by Coun Marsh were multiple water leaks throughout the building, external steps being identified as unsafe and requiring upgrading, and vinyl in the building’s stairwells having to be replaced after it was found to fail stringent safety regulations.
“What else will fail in this one year old building?” Coun Marsh said after the meeting.
In reply, a council spokesperson confirmed that work had been undertaken to address issues with the building in recent weeks.
The spokesperson confirmed that stairwells in the civic centre had their original vinyl removed and have been repainted in the last couple of weeks, after it was found the material had failed to meet regulation requirements.
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“The vinyl that was originally installed was a new product that was thought to meet the stringent building regulation requirements, however subsequent testing showed that it missed the required standard,” the spokesperson said.
The council confirmed the product was not the same as the one used at Grenfell Tower.
The £5,950 cost of the removal and repainting has been covered by the original building budget.
The council spokesperson added that external steps were being upgraded to make them safer.
According to council, after the steps were installed it was agreed to add a better anti-slip service given surrounding leaf litter around the building.
Work is still underway on the upgrade with a final cost not yet known.
The council have also addressed several leaks in the building, with the cost covered by the building contractor.
“There are a couple of leaks that have been discovered but these are being dealt with by the building contractor under the original contract, there will be no additional cost to the local authority,” the spokesperson said.
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Council moved in to their new headquarters in late 2017.
It’s understood the total cost of the building is in the vicinity of £12m, with an official price yet to be released as the final account is still being negotiated with the contractors.
The council expects to recoup £1m in annual savings by bringing its various departments under the one roof.
Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service