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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 06:50 GMT
Report exposes leisure centre perils
Swansea Leisure Centre
The consultants found asbestos at Swansea Leisure Centre
Detailed reasons for the closure of a city's leisure centre, including the threat of electrocution and fire and the presence of asbestos, have emerged from a consultants' report.

The report's findings, which led to the closure of Swansea Leisure Centre - which was one of Wales' top attractions - have been obtained by BBC Wales' Dragon's Eye programme.

Throughout the centre, it said that surveyors found both white and the more dangerous brown asbestos - both of which are now banned in the UK as breathing in fibres can lead to asbestosis.

Then the report went onto say that experts warned the ventilation system "may be blowing airborne asbestos fibres into the swimming pool area".

Asbestosis can lead to the scarring of lung tissue and cancer..

Swansea Council say the pool area was subsequently tested for asbestos fibres though none was found.

The electrics were seen as so hazardous that consultants described "a permanent risk of fire and/or electric shock on site".

Although at this stage 41 employees have not been found employment, we hope to reduce that figure to around 30 during the next few weeks
Swansea Council spokesman

Elsewhere, the consultants talked of a "serious risk of... death to employees" and noted that the building would appear to have had "little or no planned maintenance or upgrade of electrical services" in 25 years.

Hygiene was also described as seriously deficient, with the kitchens in an "appalling state".

The centre, which was opened by the Queen in 1977, closed in November 2003 after Swansea Council said a structural report on the building showed it needed extensive repairs.

A Swansea Council spokesman said the leisure centre was shut "following an in-depth building condition survey undertaken by consultants".

There has been a campaign among some city residents to reopen the popular facility.

The council intended replacing it with a new leisure and conference facility and, although 11 firms are interested in the development, it is likely to be several years before it opens.

Meanwhile the authority met with union officials on Thursday to discuss the future of the 96 leisure centre employees.

It said 32 had been redeployed into other jobs, 12 were on trial periods in posts, 22 had not expressed any interest in redeployment, eight had resigned, two temporary contracts were terminated and one member of staff had taken a career break.

A spokesman said: "Although at this stage 41 employees have not been found employment, we hope to reduce that figure to around 30 during the next few weeks."

Dragon's Eye is broadcast at 2335 GMT on Thursday, 12 February on BBC One Wales.


SEE ALSO:
Leisure centre 'needs 14m' - report
23 Dec 03  |  South West Wales
Election fight over leisure centre
08 Dec 03  |  South West Wales
Ex-chief leads leisure centre fight
30 Nov 03  |  South West Wales
Investors sought for new centre
17 Nov 03  |  South West Wales
Swansea Leisure Centre to shut
13 Nov 03  |  South West Wales


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