South Scotland

Dumfries leisure centre faults examined

DG One leisure centre
Image caption The centre has suffered a string of problems since it opened a little more than three years ago

A flagship leisure centre in southern Scotland has called in specialist surveyors to establish the cause of repeated faults with the building.

It is the latest in a string of issues at the £17m DG One leisure complex in Dumfries.

Problems with swimming pool tiles surfaced earlier this year prompting an investigation into the cause.

Further surveys are now required which could shut "parts or all of the facility" over the coming months.

The DG One centre opened in May 2008 - on budget but several months behind schedule.

Within two weeks a section of the pool had to shut due to tiles coming loose which was described at the time as a "snagging issue".

By September 2009 it was announced that a lengthy and complete shutdown of the leisure pool was required to allow a moving floor and tiling to be replaced.

Now Dumfries and Galloway Council Chief Executive Gavin Stevenson has briefed councillors on further problems which have come to light.

Issues with tiling in the swimming pools became apparent in February this year.

A "significant number" of poolside wall tiles became loose in the building's main pool.

In addition to having the appropriate repairs carried out, council managers took the view that they were "not prepared to have continual interruptions to service at the council's flagship leisure facility".

A council statement said: "They, therefore, instructed preliminary surveys to ascertain the reasons behind the ongoing need for repairs.

"Initial findings show that it is necessary for the council to undertake further intrusive surveys.

"These have now been instructed and the council will receive a report on any action which may be necessary to remedy any defects found.

"This may involve the temporary closure of parts or all of the facility over the coming months."

The statement concluded that in the meantime it was "business as usual at DG One" and said the public would be "kept fully informed" of any issues that were likely to affect their use of the facility.

Nith ward councillor Colin Smyth said he was concerned that councillors and the public had been "kept in the dark" about the full extent of the problem.

"For months now councillors have been asking questions and not receiving adequate responses," he said.

"The council are now trying to media manage this whole issue with private briefings and carefully managed press releases claiming business as usual.

"Local people deserve better."

He said there was clearly a "major problem" with the building and urged the authority to "be more open" about the scale of the issue.

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