Partnership plan delayed

County buildings, Linlithgow where asbestos has been found delaying plans for refurbishment
County buildings, Linlithgow where asbestos has been found delaying plans for refurbishment

An ambitious plan to revamp Linlithgow’s County Buildings into a partnership hub has ground to a halt.

Delays are set to thwart Police Scotland’s plans to move from its present office in Linlithgow’s Court Square to a new partnership hub in County Buildings.

The building, which has been vacant since September 2013, was found to contain asbestos, bringing refurbishment work to a grinding halt while a report was commissioned from specialist contractors.

This found that the building contains substantially more of the deadly material than was originally considered.

A spokesman for West Lothian Council said: “Asbestos is common in old buildings and the council was aware of the presence of asbestos in County Buildings.

“However, the extent of the asbestos contained within the building fabric has only become apparent after extensive and invasive checks were carried out prior to the refurbishment work commencing. Given the nature of the work, these checks could only be carried out when the building was vacant.

“Unfortunately, as a consequence of this development, the project will take longer than initially planned.”

The spokesman added: “Delivering a partnership centre in Linlithgow remains a key aim for the council and we will thoroughly investigate all the options that are available to us before moving forward with the project.

“We are currently undertaking a full review and analysis of the options available to us. An update on the project will be presented at the council executive on June 10

“Once we have reviewed the options, we will engage fully with all stakeholders and members of the community.

“Services for customers will continue to be available at Linlithgow library so there will be no impact on our ability to deliver services.”

The presence of asbestos in older buildings is not uncommon as the material was frequently used in the early 20th century as a form of insulation and means of fire protection.

A spokesman for the Asbestos Removal Contractors Association confirmed that in the County Buildings the dangerous, and now highly regulated, material was most likely to have been used for 
pipe lagging and wall insulation.