Leisure centre gym forced to close when it gets too windy

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DEFECTS have been found in Capital leisure centres as a botched works scandal spreads to more municipal buildings, the Evening News can reveal.

Part of Drumbrae Leisure Centre has been fenced off while the gym and a studio will be closed in high winds after faults were found in the walls.

It comes after 17 schools were temporarily shut in 2016 over safety fears when a wall at one collapsed.

Tory councillor for Drum Brae, Mark Brown, said: “You can’t control the weather but who is ultimately in charge here?

“Who’s inspecting these buildings and signing them off because there’s a catalogue of errors coming out?”

The Evening News understands “minor works” are needed at Gracemount Leisure Centre – though all facilities will remain open as usual.

Leisure bosses are awaiting a report on Leith Victoria while Kirkliston will be checked shortly.

Bosses at Drumbrae apologised to customers by e-mail and confirmed the gym and Studio 1 would be shut when wind speeds exceed 35mph or gusts are above 55mph.

Staff will check wind speeds daily with updates posted on the centre’s website.

Problems relate to ties not being properly secured between the inner and outer walls and the main steel structure in an extension to the centre.

Work to correct the flaw is expected to start in the next few weeks while gym goers can use Ainslie Park facilities when Drumbrae’s are 
off-limits.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh Leisure said: “Our customers’ safety is of paramount importance.

“We will continue to work with the council to ensure safety and aim to minimise disruption as far as possible as they carry out their review and any remedial work where required.”

Safety fears first surfaced after a wall collapsed at Oxgangs Primary School in January 2016.

City bosses shut 17 schools for safety checks and set aside £500,000 to inspect other buildings.

Those affected were all built or refurbished following a £360m private finance deal – dubbed “PPP1” - in 2002.

The fiasco prompted city council property chief Peter Watton to admit the authority had “got it wrong” to a Holyrood committee.

A council spokeswoman said: “These surveys form part of the council’s ongoing property estate review.

“Public safety is of paramount importance and remedial works will be carried out where necessary.

“We aim to minimise any disruption to Edinburgh Leisure and its users and thank them for their patience.”

andy.shipley@edinburghnews.com