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Southampton's Civic Centre 'leaking like a sieve' after £15m of work
IT MAY have undergone a recent £15 million refurbishment, but that has not stopped Southampton’s Civic Centre springing a leaks in the bad weather.
Water has poured into the building through a number of leaks, although the city council says they are minor and do not affect the authority’s services.
But opposition councillors say the building is “leaking like a sieve” and the problem should not be happening after such a comprehensive refurbishment which included structural improvements.
The damage at the Civic Centre can be revealed just 24 hours after the Daily Echo told how residents in Southampton tower blocks are also suffering leaks. Water has started pouring into new windows put into 500 homes in a £9 million revamp of council homes and now council chiefs have launched a major review.
Residents say they have had enough and the city council has handed out plastic sheeting to those who have rain water coming into their homes.
As the country suffers from its worst storms for 20 years even part of the Civic Centre clock’s copper roof was blown off during violent wind and rain.
Southampton City Council commissioned construction firm Wates Construction to carry out the work in 2009, and it was completed earlier this year.
The building was largely built in the 1920s after proposals were put forward by mayor Sir Sidney Kimber, and the last major upgrade took place in the 1930s.
But despite the work in the past three years, leaks have been reported throughout the building following the storm on Christmas Eve and buckets have appeared around the building to collect water.
Most of the problems have been reported to occur in window frames around the building.
A spokesman said: “The Civic Centre has suffered from other minor leaks caused by the high winds and heavy rain but none are significant, nor affect the service provided by the council.
“A full assessment is being undertaken, however this may take a while due to the forecasted heavy rains and wind expected over the next few weeks.”
City council leader Simon Letts said: “My first instinct is that the leaks have come through window frames which we would not have been able to change in the refurbishment, as it is a Grade II listed building and we needed to use sympathetic materials.
“But if there is a fault that is down to the construction firm, I will take it up with them.
“In the meantime an assessment is still being done of the damage.”
Councillor Against the Cuts Don Thomas said: “Sidney Kimber will be turning in his grave.
“A lot of the £15million was spent on structural repairs which should have prevented rain coming in, no matter how hard it rained.
“Weather condition is a feeble excuse – one would expect - after £15m - better than a building that still leaks like a sieve.”
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