By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie MSP, right, has warned that the Scottish Government’s cladding programme for schools, high rise flats and other residential properties is “in disarray” as damning new internal documents come to light.
Within the Dumbarton constituency, there are three schools which have been constructed with the same material as Grenfell Tower – Vale of Leven Academy, St Patrick’s and Gartocharn primaries. Also, Hermitage Primary, Hermitage Academy, Parklands School, Garelochhead Primary and Cardross Primary were built using combustible cladding – banned because of the fatal Grenfell fire in London.
The Scottish Government has already faced criticism after taking four years longer than the UK government to ban dangerous Grenfell-style cladding.
Now new documents obtained through Freedom of Information legislation – in other words, it had to be dragged out of the authorities – raise fresh questions around the programme to replace this cladding.
The Delivery Confidence Assessment has being downgraded to Amber/Red – meaning “successful delivery of the project is in doubt”.
The documents paint a clear picture of chaos in the programme, stating that “there is no business case and no accompanying plan” and a “lack of clear priorities and appropriate planning.”
Promises made by Ministers are described as “clearly heroic and an impossible timescale to achieve”.
A report from 2021 stated that assessment alone will take five years – with the actual remediation work taking even longer.
Vale of Leven Academy and Hermitage Academy in Helensbhurgh.
The Dumbarton constituency MSP said: “These damning documents show that this project is now in total disarray.
“It is really worrying that people’s safety is being compromised with promises being made by Ministers that they just can’t keep as this vital programme descends into chaos.
“Having wasted years refusing to ban this dangerous cladding, this essential work is now being threatened once again due to their negligence. It is reckless.
“More than five years on from the Grenfell tragedy, the SNP cannot afford to waste any more time. They must get a group of this mess and make this programme work for people’s safety.”
Bridgend high flats in Dumbarton. Top of page: View from the flats at West Bridgend.
* Excerpts from Gateway Review reports obtained by Freedom of Information: Gateway Review 18/10/2021 to 20/10/2021: Gateway Review 27/06/2022 – 29/06/2022