County Buildings close as problems continue

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ANGUS Council offices in Forfar have been closed and staff have been relocated as work continues to rectify the long-running electrical problems on site.

The County Buildings were closed on Friday because of health and safety concerns when claims were made that wall sockets had caught fire and started to melt.

The local authority took immediate steps to relocate around 180 members of staff away from the building.

Angus Council has had problems with electrical faults at the site for over two months but this has been the most serious complaint so far.

A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “The difficulties at County Buildings escalated in the last 24 hours.

“That created health and safety concerns beyond what had previously been experienced and that’s why the council took immediate action and closed the building.”

The faults at the building have caused the council many issues since February 18 and most services have been disrupted.

It is thought that countless e-mails to and from council staff will have been lost due to the problems and staff were also disrupted many times last month thanks to the fire alarm which kept going off.

Following the most recent incident SNP leader Helen Oswald said: “I spoke to the chief executive this morning and he said that they were taken absolutely by surprise by this.

“It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since everybody moved back in.

“Everything seemed to be okay and overnight something bizarre seemed to have happened and there were power points melted in the walls and one officer actually saw little flames coming out of one of them.

“It seems that maybe the fire alarm system wasn’t working properly either.

“Where before it had been going off every 10 minutes, it seemed not to have reacted to this particular one so really you had to just batten down the hatches - you couldn’t have people working under these circumstances until you find out what is the root cause of this because it may be something totally different.

“I’m very glad that they are looking after the health and safety of the employees and fortunately they have got places that they can farm the staff out to and we’ll just have to wait and see.”

The council spokeswoman added: “Staff are being relocated to other offices but there will be some disruption to services as this is under way.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause but ask customers to bear with us during this time.”

The services affected are planning, roads, economic development and environmental and consumer protection.

Any telephone calls for these services should be directed to the council’s ACCESSLine 08452 777 778.