Regulations end evening lets

EVENING lets at Montrose Library are to end due to health and safety concerns over evacuation of the building in the event of an emergency.

The library is one of six Angus Council buildings across the county affected by the regulations, and the local authority will help community groups which currently use the first floor for meetings to find suitable alternative venues.

Members of the council’s neighbourhood services committee noted the requirements of the safe evacuation regulations and agreed to the proposals at their meeting last Thursday.

There will also no longer be out of hours lets of the first floors of Arbroath Library, Brechin Town House Museum, Carnoustie Library, Forfar’s Meffan Museum and Monifieth Library. A council spokeswoman said user groups will be notified of the changes, and staff resources will be deployed meantime to enable existing bookings to be honoured.

Neighbourhood services convener Councillor Jim Millar said: “As a council, we are required to, and do, comply with all health and safety and equalities legislation related to access to our buildings. Unfortunately, the application of safe evacuation regulations means it will no longer be feasible or appropriate for the council to resource, or allow organisations to take on the responsibility of evacuating members of the public with unknown escape requirements, from the first floor of buildings. Safer and practical ground floor accommodation is available in each burgh for public meetings.

“During working hours, good building management and availability of staff allows evacuation to be carried out if the need arises, but the issue of safe evacuation becomes problematic when first floor premises are let for public meetings in the evenings.

“Council officers will work with the various groups which use the buildings mentioned, to find suitable alternative council-owned accommodation for meetings.”