Thursday, August 25, 2011

Update on Moseley Road baths –25th August 2011

The date for the re-opening of Moseley Road baths has been put back to the New Year, following the discovery of large amounts of loose asbestos in the basement area.

My last blog update was on 25th July and can be seen at

The following is a brief update on where we are with re-opening Pool 2.
• Pool 2 closed in December 2010, after it was found that the steel lintel above the fire exit in this pool was corroded so much, that it was in danger of collapsing and pulling down the wall and roof above it.
• This lintel has now been replaced with a stainless steel lintel
• While the new lintel was being inserted, the Council’s Health and Safety team inspected the basement and raised serious concerns about the structural integrity of a series of temporary metal props holding up the ground floor plate, which in turn were holding up the roof. The Health and Safety team insisted that these should be replaced with permanent props.
• Before work could begin on installing these permanent props, the Health and Safety team designated the basement as a ‘confined working area’ and put in a wholes series of stringent working conditions, including an asbestos survey.

The asbestos survey was completed in mid-August and confirms that there are substantial amounts of loose Amosite and Chrysotile asbestos in the basement. Both types of asbestos are the most hazardous type of asbestos. Bits of gasket containing asbestos and flaks of rust covered in asbestos material have over the years laid on the floor of the basement. During that time, the basement has flooded several times, with the loose asbestos spreading throughout the basement, mixed in with other debris.

Below are photos from the asbestos report showing gaskets and flaks of rust lying on the basement floor that contain Chrysotile asbestos.



All this asbestos needs to be removed, before the work on installing the permanent props begins.

The cost of removing the asbestos will be £80,000 and adds 10 weeks to the programme. We hope to have the money signed off next week and with the installation of the permanent prop, we expect pool 2 to be open after Christmas 2011, subject to no further problems being found.

I have enquired as to whether we need to do any more asbestos surveys in the rest of the building. I am assured that over the years all other parts of Moseley Road baths have had asbestos surveys and the basement was the only section not to have been surveyed.

I have also asked for the Asbestos survey for the basement to be checked to see if it can be made public on request. I hope to have an answer on this next week. Please let me know if you wish to be e-mailed a copy.

Monday, August 22, 2011

One of Highbury Parks historic features completely demolished by vandals

One of Highbury Parks historic features was completely demolished last week by vandals. I have spent this afternoon with David Papadopoulos of the Friends of Highbury Park, salvaging what we can of this feature.

The historic feature that was damaged is the Viewing Platform up near Highbury Hall. It was created in 1890 and it was from this platform that Joseph Chamberlain was able to view his ornate gardens of Highbury Hall, looking down to the main pond that still exists today.

The Viewing Platform was completely demolished last Thursday between 4pm and 5pm. The ornate stonework of the platform was knocked over onto the ground, then pushed over the edge of a rocky outcrop, smashing into tiny pieces on impact.

A member of the Friends of Highbury Park witnessed this vandalism and described the group as all male, containing a small number of 40 to 50 year old men, who were encouraging teenage boys to smash up the stonework. When the member of the Friends group approached the group, he was swore at and threatened.

Both David Papadopoulos and myself have move the smash stonework to another side of the park, until we can find permanent storage.

The timing of this vandalism has been terrible, since I was busy finding money to fully restore this viewing platform this Autumn and this has significantly increased that cost. Some of the stone blocks are re-usable, but there are lot that will require complete replacing.

Photographs of the wreckage can be seen at