Cracks in the ceiling force sports centre to shut doors

A SPORTS centre in the Lothians has been forced to shut its doors after large cracks appeared in the ceiling.

The Penicuik Centre in Midlothian turned away visitors yesterday as engineers were called to investigate a large fissure that emerged in the ceiling of the reception area.

Despite the alarming structural damage which affected half the ceiling, facilities at the centre are due to reopen today but it is understood the 
reception will remain cordoned off to the public while further examinations take place.

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Cracks are believed to have formed close to the edges of the ceiling on Sunday leading to staff sounding the alert.

The £10 million pound complex, which boasts a 25-metre swimming pool, library and leisure centre, is based in the grounds of Penicuik High School, which opened in 2007.

A notice posted online read: “It has been necessary to close The Penicuik Centre until further notice, until structural damage in the reception area is assessed and the building is approved as safe once again.

“This disruption and inconvenience is extremely regrettable. However, the health and safety of our customers is our top priority and so this precautionary step has been taken meantime.”

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Ward councillor Adam Montgomery said: “If anything happened it would be an absolute nightmare.

“I think you would be alarmed if they didn’t shut it down and if people were still being allowed to use it.

“It’s disappointing because it’s a brilliant leisure centre and has a great library, fitness centre and pool but if it’s closed for just a day or two it’s not the worst thing in the world.

“The priority has to be that people are safe and their safety comes first.”

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Mr Montgomery said barriers had been erected at the reception area to prevent access to visitors.

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “The Penicuik Centre was closed on Monday, July 30, due to structural damage in the reception area. This closure, due to public safety concerns, affects all services provided from the premises. All other Midlothian leisure centres were open as normal.

“Following an assessment of the damage by our structural engineer, we are aiming to re-open the Penicuik Centre today. The area around the reception will remain closed, pending further examination. We have relocated the reception facilities to elsewhere on the premises to ensure public safety and minimise disruption.

“Apart from this, we anticipate the Penicuik Centre will be operating as normal from this morning.”

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Earlier this month, the News told how the Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh sprang a leak less than four months after re-opening from a £37m ­refurbishment.

Rain water from a torrential downpour began streaming into the flagship facility just 105 days after it re-opened.