Waterworld firm told to clear ‘dangerous’ rubbish

A SOFT play centre that has taken over the lease for Leith Waterworld has been forced to clean up a “dangerous” ­mountain of rubbish piled ­outside the premises.

Thursday, 4th December 2014, 11:45 am
Wood and plaster piled up at Waterworld. Picture: Greg Macvean

The city has written to tenant A&G Property Group demanding that they remove a stockpile of wood and plaster that has blighted the entrance area for more than a week.

It was finally due to be cleared yesterday by the firm’s contractors.

But the Glasgow-based firm claimed that it had not been made aware of the issue and blamed contractors renovating the building for the mess.

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Chas Booth, Green councillor for Leith, branded the ­condition of the forecourt “unacceptable” and raised ­concerns about the safety of children playing in the area.

He said: “Leaving ­construction debris outside Leith Waterworld in an area that’s easily accessible to the public is quite unacceptable.

“Quite apart from the 
eyesore, this may present a hazard, particularly to small children or people with disabilities.

“I raised this issue with council officials last week, so it’s disappointing that it hasn’t yet been resolved.”

Cllr Booth had been assured the rubbish would be cleared within 24 hours.

The problem was first raised with the council neighbourhood teams by a constituent last Saturday and again by Cllr Booth several days later.

And the mess is also a potential fire hazard, with fire chiefs recently putting out a festive safety warning urging property owners to keep their buildings clear from piles of rubbish.

A council spokesman said: “We have written to the occupiers of the building to ask them to remove the waste to ensure they meet their lease obligations to the council and health and safety requirements.”

The conversion of Leith Waterworld into a soft play centre became mired in controversy after the council performed a U-turn on an earlier decision to grant the lease to a community group eager to keep the pool open.

Community group Splashback had been given £100,000 from council funds to conduct a feasibility study into operating Leith Waterworld. But later the council announced it would sell the site, which closed in January 2012, to the A&G Property Group.

When it closed, Leith Waterworld was making annual losses of about £350,000 and needed £2 million worth of upgrade repairs. This week the council confirmed that the sale of the building had not been completed.

A spokesman from A&G Property said the firm had not been aware of the problem until contacted by the Evening News.

He said: “It is currently being fitted out which is possibly the reason we haven’t been contacted. This is the first I have heard about it.”

The £1.3m conversion into a “state-of-the-art” soft play centre is expected to generate more than 80 jobs, while the coalition moved to dampen community anger by committing £125,000 to primary-age swimming initiatives.