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Inquiry Demanded After Wall Tie Defects Discovered in East Kilbride School

Parents were not advised of repairs after a wall collapsed at Duncanrig Secondary, according to information uncovered by a recent freedom of information request.

South Lanarkshire Council admitted that defects in Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme schools were known four years ago, but insists that the secondary school pupils attending East Kilbride are not in danger.

The request revealed that repairs were performed in Duncanrig Secondary after stormy weather caused a wall to collapse during the 2012 Christmas break.

However, the council neglected at the time to inform local parents that faulty wall ties had to be repaired after structural engineers investigated.

Further investigations in other South Lanarkshire schools took place, with St Andrew’s and St. Bride’s requiring the replacement of five faulty wall ties in total.

The same problems have since been unearthed during the Edinburgh schools scandal, during which buildings were closed down after a wall at Oxgangs Primary fell, creating fears over safety at PPP buildings across Edinburgh.

Structural Defects Insurance

South Lanarkshire Council representatives said that none of the contractors who built the schools in Edinburgh had helped repair the three secondary schools in East Kilbride.

South Lanarkshire Greens are now asking the council to thoroughly investigate how the faults occurred and are even accusing council members of hiding the potential risks to children’s safety from parents.

At the zenith of the modernisation programme at local secondary schools in 2005, South Lanarkshire Greens contacted the council in response to growing local concerns about the design of the new buildings and marked lack of consultation.

The lack of information about the schemes prompted the Green Party to submit a Freedom of Information request in an effort to review the plans.

The results uncovered several disconcerting issues about building quality, the scheme development process, and lack of scrutiny of the final plans or the completed building.

Kirsten Robb, a Green activist and mother of two in East Kilbride, said that as a parent she wanted her children to learn in a well-designed, structurally sound building. She found it shocking that the council did not inform parents about the building defects and accused it of being happy to spend public money but not keep the public up to date on how that money was being spent.

South Lanarkshire councillors were advised that investigations into the 2012 storm damage in both East Kilbride and Trinity High in Rutherglen brought wall tie defects to light and that repairs were finished at Duncanrig in March.

Last April, after the Edinburgh incident and the exposure of the building defects in the PPP buildings, the council carried out surveys across a sample of schools. No structural defects were discovered.

Councillor Sheena Wardhaugh, SNP East Kilbride Central North said that her party wanted more information, but was overall satisfied with the safety standards in local schools. She said that the buildings were not a cause of concern but the dearth of information available to elected members certainly was.

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