24 March
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Due to the extent and scale of the remedial works, the building is likely to be closed for approximately two years.

There are no plans to keep the Lanthorn Centre closed once the necessary repairs are carried out.

The building was designed by G R M Kennedy and Partners, Edinburgh and funded by the Livingston Development Corporation, Lothian Regional Council, West Lothian District Council, the Congregational Church, and The Roman Catholic Church. The building opened in 1978.

The building is regularly maintained and has been subject to a number of significant planned improvements over the years including, most recently, a new roof covering and insulated wall panels. 

The council commissioned surveys on the condition of Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) roof planks in the building, which were carried out by specialist independent engineers. Those surveys have identified significant structural issues with the centre's RAAC roof planks. RAAC is a lightweight construction material that was commonly used in buildings between the 1960s and 1980s. Issues with RAAC are affecting buildings across the UK and it is no longer in use. It is often referred to as Siporex. The presence of RAAC is not in itself dangerous, but cracking near roof plank supports increases the risk of shear failure, which is the case at The Lanthorn Centre.  The centre therefore has to close and significant remedial works will have to be carried out. 

Services that are delivered from The Lanthorn Centre will have to be relocated to other buildings within the area. The majority of user groups can be relocated within the council's existing estate within Livingston (or wider West Lothian) and work to identify suitable alternative locations will now be undertaken.

At the Council Executive this afternoon (Tuesday) it was noted that West Lothian Council will work with customers, groups and the centre Management Committee to find alternative locations. 

West Lothian Council's Head of Finance and Property Services, Donald Forrest, confirmed that a report on potential options for The Lanthorn Centre is being prepared as a priority.

He said:

"I'm sure everyone will understand that safety of building users is paramount.

"The Lanthorn is a valued community building and we will work closely with the users of the building and Management Committee to set out future options for relocating activities and services when they are allowed to re-open.

"We share in the disappointment that will be felt by building users that the centre will not be available for use for a prolonged period of time. 

"There are a number of potential solutions to fix the roof deck issues. However, it will take time to identify the details, set out a course of action, identifying funding and then carry out the works. At this stage we know that any remediation of the structural issues will take time and be costly.

"For some time only certain parts of the building have been open and access restrictions are now in place where RAAC planks are present, as a safety precaution.  The restricted areas can only be used where tasks can be carried out quickly and when suitable safety equipment and specific risk assessments are in place. 

"Clearly that is not a viable option going forward at a busy public building such as the Lanthorn Centre. 

"The surveys highlight that widespread cracking within the roof structure is evident.  The extensive nature of the structural issues would increase the health and safety risks and there would be a serious concern that, as the building's owner, we would not be able to safely meet its statutory obligations

"That includes electrical and fire safety checks and other legal compliance activities such has legionella monitoring, other regular building maintenance and repairs."

Council officers are meeting the Management Committee and other centre stakeholders later today to provide them with details and further information.