South Scotland

Council agree to commission inquiry into Dumfries DG One centre

DG One works
Image caption Councillors unanimously agreed to continue the repairs programme at DG One

An "independent, comprehensive and unfettered" inquiry is to be held into flaws at a flagship leisure centre.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has agreed to commission the probe into the beleaguered DG One in Dumfries.

Councillors decided to continue repairs on the site which it has already been revealed are set to run at least £3m over their £10m budget.

Council leader Elaine Murray confirmed she would also write to the Health and Safety Executive and Police Scotland.

The local authority is to draw down £500,000 initially to allow repair works to continue.

A report is then expected back within eight weeks to put a final price tag on the remedial work.

Image copyright Dumfries and Galloway Council
Image caption The final repairs bill for the site should be known within eight weeks

They decided against more dramatic options which could have seen the building demolished and replaced or simply knocked down.

"It is not a position any of us would have wanted," said Ms Murray.

"This is the best outcome we could have given the situation - we will be able to deliver a facility for Dumfries."

Earlier, Ms Murray had told councillors she would be contacting the police and the HSE to look at the potential of a criminal investigation.

It echoed calls made by south of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth who said such a probe should not be ruled out.

He said the "eye-watering" scale of repairs meant questions needed to be asked as to whether the building was safe during the time it was being used by the public.

Image copyright Dumfries and Galloway Council
Image caption Money is to be drawn down to allow the repairs programme to continue

DG One opened in 2008 but a string of problems led to its complete closure in 2014.

A long-running legal wrangle meant it took nearly two years before the council reached a settlement with contractors to allow the current repairs programme to begin.

It has unearthed further problems which Ms Murray described as "absolutely shocking".

"It is an absolute disgrace and we feel - in the administration group at least - that we need to investigate the possibility of criminality and how that can be taken forward," she said.

The council also agreed to commission an independent inquiry into the DG One building and its construction so that "all lessons are learned".

A spokesman for Kier, who built the centre, said last week that a settlement for the building had been reached last year allowing full remedial works to be undertaken.

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