Demolition of former swimming pool to be considered

Proposals for the demolition of the old swimming pool in Sansome Walk are set to be considered by Worcester city councillors.

Work at the site was delayed after surveys showed a greater level of asbestos was present than had previously been revealed.

Council officers have worked with specialists to reappraise the process for demolishing the building. Their proposals will be presented for approval to the Policy and Resources Committee on 31 July.

If supported, the demolition work is expected to begin in February 2020 and last until October that year. Additional work will follow to put the site into a suitable condition for future development.

The Council is pledging to give regular updates to neighbouring residents and businesses throughout the process and will be organising a public meeting in September to discuss the demolition.

Andrew Round, Worcester City Council's Director of Place, said: "The biggest priority in this project is the health and safety of both residents and the contractors who will be working at the site.

"The proposals we are making to councillors make it clear that the preparation and management of the demolition process will have full regard of the safety of residents and comply with the very strict regulations that exist for this type of work."

Following its closure in December 2016, the Sansome Walk site was made safe and secure to avoid any risk of unauthorised people entering it.

Surveys were carried out in 2017 to confirm the extent of asbestos in the building before the demolition work was put out to tender. However, last September additional surveys found more asbestos than had been expected.

An update was given to residents at the time and the demolition plans were put on hold while further investigation was carried out.

The Policy and Resources Committee will now be asked to agree to a new tendering exercise to appoint a contractor who will carry out the demolition work in a project expected to last 34 weeks.

It is proposed that the Council works with specialist consultants Gleeds to select the demolition contractor. Only contractors with suitable experience and qualifications will be considered. They will be required to draw up a detailed plan for dealing with the asbestos that will need to be approved by the Council, the Environment Agency and Environmental Health. That plan will also be shared with the Health and Safety Executive before any work begins.

The building is likely to be completely covered by "wrapped scaffolding" during the demolition process in order to protect the public, and air quality will be monitored both inside and outside by an accredited independent analysist.

Once the demolition is completed further work would be needed to put the site into a suitable condition for future use. A decision will be made at a later date over whether this work will be carried out by the Council or by the future developer of the site.

A £750,000 Government grant has already been awarded to the Council to support the demolition work and councillors will be asked to allocate an extra £832,000 towards the work at next week's meeting. 

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