…in the words of West Dunbartonshire Council’s own geotechnical experts.
If you’ve been following the Dunbartonshire press or the Save Posties Park campaign, you’ll probably be aware of at least a dozen valid reasons why West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) shouldn’t build the new Our Lady and St Patrick’s secondary school on our park. But some people might wonder if the objections cited by campaigners are measured and objective, or if they are driven by high emotions and NIMBYism. So, to answer that, I thought it would be useful to publish here the qualified opinion of WDC’s own environmental and geotechnical expert, Ramboll UK Limited.
Some of you might remember seeing this…
This was one of Ramboll’s contractors undertaking core sampling on Posties on Monday 29th July, the day after the Scottish Pipe Band Championships. A broad range of different methods were employed to survey Posties over the following week or so, and the results of these surveys were subsequently pulled into a report for the council by Ramboll. I obtained a copy of Ramboll’s report through a Freedom of Information request.
The information that I am going to publish is taken, word for word, from Ramboll’s risk register. For now, I’ve excluded the detailed preventative/extra-ordinary steps that Ramboll propose to mitigate these risks, but, in the coming days, I’ll blog in more detail about some of the more worrying results.
|Unfavourable ground conditions||Areas of made ground have been encountered across the site. The made ground is not considered as a suitable founding stratum due to the variations in density, shear strength and consistency in the material.
The Beach and Tidal Flat Deposits are also not a suitable stratum to place foundations on due to the very low shear strength and high compressibility of the material.
|Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)||The Zetica regional UXB risk map shows the site to be located in an area of high risk from unexploded ordnance.||
|Kinnesswood Sandstone Formation||The depth of the Kinnesswood sandstone is variable across the site.||
|Groundwater||Based on available data, the groundwater table is mainly present in the made ground.||
|Acid and/or sulphate in ground||Acid and/or sulphate in ground has the potential to attack and cause degradation to concrete.||
|Stability of an excavation||Excavations within loose or soft deposits are expected to be unstable.||
|Services (Gas, Electricity, Water, Sewers, Telecom)||The site has been previously developed. There may be several existing services for Woodyard House and flood lights and redundant services within the site boundary.||
|Previous Landslide/instability of ground||Anecdotal evidence indicated that the former shipbuilding works suffered a historical slope failure with a mass movement of material towards the River Leven.||
You’ll probably notice some of the eight risks mentioned here by the experts are reflective of the comments made by residents and campaigners in the local press since May. They’re what you might classify as ‘common sense’ assumptions about a site like Posties which is surrounded by water and built on silt and sand. So if we are saying it, and the Council’s own experts are saying it, why on earth aren’t WDC listening?
None of the risks shown above are insurmountable. With enough time and money thrown into the mix, you can fix most problems. As of course we saw (and paid for…) with the Scottish Parliament building, and the Edinburgh trams fiasco.
Seven out of eight of the problems above list ‘cost’ in the consequences column. And this is before we even begin to think about the potential costs of the new footbridge which must go hand-in-hand with a school development on Posties Park.
So my question is this : when costs start to spiral on the Posties Park development, which of our local services will be cut as a consequence? The library? Bin collection and refuse services? Or perhaps the extra-curricular educational and learning clubs, groups and societies that Mr Lanagan assures us will be run from our “iconic” new secondary school.
You must ask your council for answers on these matters before its too late. Please don’t let a development get underway without a comprehensive and fully transparent exploration of all of the potential risks, costs and impacts on local life. Your council would have you believe that Posties is the better, cheaper option but doesn’t the information shown above suggest otherwise? We’ve already seen that the feasibility study isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. It was compiled before any of this physical surveying was undertaken and it shows Posties as the highest scoring site. With all of the risks and potential costs shown above, I think that’s a bit fishy. We need to start getting some clear answers from our council.
But there is only one way to avoid all of the risks shown above – write to your council before 13th November and tell them that you don’t want a development on Posties Park at all. Remember, there is a feasible alternative, which will provide a new school and retain our park for future generations.