Crumbling building roof falls onto car

The Inch Community centre. Picture: Ian Georgeson
The Inch Community centre. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A BLOCK of masonry fell from the roof of a community centre and smashed into a parked car just months after council inspectors insisted it was safe to keep the building open.

Last week’s incident, which saw a lump of stone “the size of a bag of sugar” crumble away from the roof of Inch Community Centre, happened three months after officials noted concerns over the condition of the building – but decided against carrying out immediate repairs.

Now angry community leaders have accused city chiefs of putting the safety of the public at risk despite being “well aware” of the problems “for a long time”.

The A-listed Inch House in Gilmerton Road dates back to at least the 17th century and is home to a variety of local groups.

Debris fell from the building’s roof last Thursday – landing yards from the main entrance on the same day a mother and toddler class was scheduled to take place in the morning.

One furious resident said the council was failing to learn lessons from the Liberton High School tragedy, in which a 12-year-old pupil was crushed to death by a “wobbly” wall.

He added: “Edinburgh council are putting people’s lives at risk because they won’t spend money on essential repair and maintenance work.”

Mark Mulgrew, chairman of Inch Community Association, said it was the council’s responsibility to maintain the building – which it owns – and ensure the safety of the public.

He said: “Goodness knows what might have happened if it had hit someone. I believe this is in the public interest due to the fact [the council] have been well aware of the problems with the roof for a long time and have done nothing about it. Will it take someone being injured or worse before they take definitive action?”

It is understood the council inspection three months ago identified areas of the roof that required future repairs, with safety barriers erected in some areas to protect the public. But the work was not deemed sufficiently serious to carry out immediately.

The community centre was closed following the incident but reopened yesterday with protective scaffolding in place.

A city council spokeswoman said: “As a result of this small piece of fallen debris, further precautions are being taken at Inch House. Safety barriers have already been in place but protective scaffolding is also being extended.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com