Shropshire Council commits to publishing all 'crumbly concrete' assessments
Shropshire Council has vowed to publish all assessments of schools and public buildings it owns, to help allay fears over crumbling concrete.
A motion calling for the authority to take the step was unanimously backed by councillors who said parents were in need of urgent reassurance as to their children’s safety amid concerns over RAAC.
The council also says it will encourage other partners to follow its lead and publish findings of any surveys, including those concerning hospitals, courts, town halls, prisons and job centres.
The motion was put forward by Councillor Julia Buckley, Labour group leader.
She said: “There is a lack of information as to which buildings are safe, which ones are not safe, which ones have been assessed and what the outcomes of those assessments were.”
Councillor Buckley said school buildings were assessed in 2018 and graded A to D if RAAC was present, and it was only those rated D that were required to close before the start of this term.
Those rated C or better were “left to rot” in 2018, but may now have deteriorated further, she said.
Councillor Buckley said publishing the assessments would reassure the public that buildings are either safe, or that safety concerns have been identified and measures put in place.
The motion also commits the council to put together a schedule of preventative maintenance for any buildings previously graded ‘C’.
Councillor Buckley added: “It’s time for us to start doing that day-to-day maintenance that we are responsible for.
“I think [publishing this information] will go a long way to reassuring our residents who are very concerned about this crumbling concrete.”
The motion was seconded by Councillor Dean Carroll, Conservative cabinet member for housing and assets, who said investigations were well underway.
He said: “This has been done in partnership with schools, both local authority maintained and academies, free schools and Diocesan schools, which aren’t our responsibility in terms of the building ownership or maintenance in the majority or cases, but we still retain a duty of care to the pupils being educated there.
“In terms of non-school buildings, we’ve also already been carrying out a data-gathering exercise which has been both desktop assessments and physical inspections to help us identify if RAAC is present.
“So far the only building that has been confirmed to have RAAC present, as has been previously announced, is Whitchurch Civic Centre and Library.
“The actions necessary for public safety have been taken in that regard and mitigations are being investigated in order to ensure the continuation of service delivery in Whitchurch as a result of that temporary closure.
“But it’s too soon at this moment in time for me to be able to stand up and say for definite there aren’t any other instances of RAAC in our property portfolio because, as I’ve said, that assessment process and investigation process is still being undertaken.
“It is being done in a managed way, prioritising buildings most accessible to the public and that post the greatest risk, to put public safety and the safety of our workforce first.”