Friday, 10 April 2009

Safety regulations

The Nicolson Institute along Springfield Road in Stornoway is due for replacement, as the buildings are at the end of their useful life. For the last few years, various locations have been proposed for a newbuild school. The latest plans (NB: PDF-file) have hit a snag. Apparently, they lie within the so-called blastzone for the gasholder, about a quarter of a mile away. The Health & Safety Executive have raised an objection for this reason.

The Comhairle are going to apply to the Scottish Government to overrule the HSE, as otherwise planning permission could be denied.

Now, I can see that the planned school, along Matheson Road and Sandwick Road, is further away from the gasholder than the Comhairle's own offices. You could even argue that the present day school is closer to it than the new proposals. However, after the explosion at the Buncefield Depot in Hertfordshire in December 2005, I feel that HSE should be listened to at the very least.


  1. dEFINITELY! When it comes to security, best let the experts have the last word. Don't ever forget Seveso

  2. Words utterly fail me. The council ignoring sound advice about something that is pretty unlikely to happen but for which there is sufficient risk to justify it being ... a risk.

    It's not as though Stornoway is short of space for new school buildings elsewhere in town.

    One dubious advantage of a Buncefield event occurring in Stornoway would be the obliteration of the unsightly 1970s Comhairle concrete pretzel which rivals even Salford's horrible concrete waffle, of the same era, for supreme civic ugliness.

    At least in Stornoway the pretzel was not attached to a listed building, but sited near to one. The juxtaposition of Salford's waffle to existing 1930s classic civic buildings jar right-minded architectural taste; indeed it is difficult to find a picture of it to share with you because it is so unphotogenic!

  3. You should see where the oil storage tanks are in Kirkwall, Arnish, but its cheaper to do nothing, cross corporate fingers and hope for the best...