A “bombshell” has been dropped after it was revealed that a Cardross “building of world significance” is riddled with asbestos.
St Peter’s Seminary — considered one of Scotland’s great modernist structures — has fragments of the hazardous material on every floor, a report commissioned by owners the Archdiocese of Glasgow has confirmed. Public arts charity NVA, which is aiming to raise £10million to help save the crumbling Roman Catholic seminary, told astonished members of Cardross Community Council last week.
Chairman Tony Davy said the community council was extremely concerned for the many ramblers and dog walkers who routinely visit the site, as well as members of the public who travel specifically to see the A-listed building and venture inside.
He said concerned community councillors were “amazed” it had only just been discovered and are demanding to know what is going to be done about it. Tony commented: “NVA dropped a bombshell on Monday night. The community council were amazed NVA hadn’t reported it to the council. NVA say the site is cordoned off but it is fenced rather than cordoned off.
Families ramble about up there, as do dog walkers. People outwith the community that have an interest in the building visit it.
We requested Councillor Richard Trail advise council building services and we are still waiting on a response.”
Surveying practice Asbestos Building Surveys (ABS) discovered the potentially dangerous asbestos in the building, described by international architecture conservation organisation DOCOMOMO as a modern “building of world significance”. NVA said the asbestos removal will take place in spring next year, adding it is the first crucial step in bringing the building back into public use. A spokesman said: “All asbestos must be treated with extreme care, the building is open to the elements and all floors contain fragments of materials which should not be handled by the public. The removal of all potentially hazardous material is included in the first phase of the on-going capital development of the project and is a positive measure. The site is already cordoned off to the public.” An Archdiocese of Glasgow spokesman added: “Over the years numerous signs have been installed by the Archdiocese on the perimeter fencing around the building warning the public of the danger of entering the site, and obviously this is another significant reason to stay away from the building.”
It is understood Argyll and Bute Council has no statutory requirement to remove the asbestos from the private site and the only role the authority could have is enforcement.