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Statement on reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) at two of our properties.

Publication date:

RAAC roof planks were used in the construction many decades ago of two of our buildings, the William Bird and Abbey View sport pavilions.

Both buildings have been managed according to national guidelines and this has included regular inspections by an external consultant engineer. We have followed all of the engineer’s recommendations and taken action when appropriate.

Last year, we took the decision to close William Bird in Toulmin Drive after deterioration was detected in some of the planks. It has been secured, fenced off and will be demolished.

Abbey View was inspected last month and remained open as there did not appear to be any major cause for concern.

However, the guidelines changed recently following new advice from the Building Research Establishment that visual inspections of RAAC planks may not necessarily detect deterioration.

In view of this, our engineer recommended we close Abbey View pavilion and the adjoining public toilets while we considered the implications and look into options for the future of the pavilion.

The health and safety of the public is, of course, our paramount concern and we will not endanger that in any way.

The athletics track remains open and alternative provision will be put in place for the services provided by the pavilion which includes equipment storage. Signage will direct track users to the nearby Westminster Lodge toilets and changing rooms.

We have been talking to the athletics clubs about these alternative arrangements that will allow them to continue with training and events.

We have no record of RAAC being present at any of our other public buildings, but for reassurance we are now conducting a full review to make absolutely sure that is the case.

RAAC roof planks were used in the construction of the former Harpenden Sports Centre, but were removed during its conversion into the Eric Morecambe Centre.