Has a building material designed to save the lives of Carluke pupils 60 years ago now become a deadly threat to the youngsters of 2015?
The education authority, South Lanarkshire Council, says not, but the Gazette has heard deep concerns of parents and local residents that asbestos dust from the old Crawforddyke Primary School escaped during its demolition over the past few weeks.
One parent, who asked not to be named, told the Gazette: “They seemed to just go in with the heavy plant and start tearing the old building down.
“We saw no warning or notice that this was going to happen.
“I have a lot of experience in the building trade and I didn’t see any of the usual asbestos precautions being taken to prevent dust escaping from the site.
“I didn’t see any of the material being stripped out of the building before the demolition and I didn’t see any anti-pollution sheeting or materials put over the parts of the building being worked on.
“You could actually see the dust from the site of the old school blowing into the new one nearby.
“I am seriously worried now about the future health of the children and staff attending the new school.”
When the old Crawforddyke Primary School was built in the mid-1950s, the use of asbestos as a fire-retardant material in school buildings was seen as an essential safety feature.
However, the council has assured parents their children were not put in any danger.
The head of education at South Lanarkshure Council, Lynn Sherry, said: “The council’s partner contractor Lendlease, who built the new Crawforddyke Primary School, have appointed a competent contractor to carry out the removal of asbestos and demolition. This work is carried out under a safe plan of work which clearly identifies the agreed process which is to be followed by the experienced operatives onsite. Operatives suppress dust when required.
“A neighbour letter was issued to local residents on November 11 and copies left in local newsagents.
“Communications have also taken place with the head teacher of Crawforddyke Primary School to keep her informed of the programme of works underway and to provide contact details if there are any concerns.”