'Unsafe' floor centre gets the all-clear
A CENTRE forced to close amid health and safety fears will now reopen after experts gave it the all-clear.
But there is also a warning that unless a problem to the flooring at Caewathan Community Centre is dealt with it will deteriorate and become hazardous.
The centre is owned by Coedffranc Community Council but run by a management committee made up of residents.
They raised enough money to pay for new flooring in the main room, which was installed in 2010.
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But a dispute has arisen with the flooring manufacturers after a mystery fault caused a "bubble" to form in one of the joints.
The dispute is over who is responsible for the repairs, with the manufacturer blaming structural problems in the hall and the community council strongly disputing this.
That dispute is still rumbling on, but at least the hall is now back in business. Councillors closed it last month after being told the authority could be liable if someone slipped or tripped because of the fault.
This was pending an inspection by a Neath Port Talbot Council expert. Coedffranc clerk Wendy Thomas has now informed councillors: "The surveyor said it definitely did not represent a health and safety hazard through slips or falls.
"But if it was left it would worsen and it would then become a hazard."
Mrs Thomas said the manufacturer, which has not been publicly named, was sending its own expert to inspect the hall.
However, she said there had been a previous problem with the flooring which the council had only just been made aware of.
Just a month after the new flooring was laid a fault developed in one of the joints and had to be repaired.
In addition, said Mrs Thomas, the company was supposed to have levelled the floor before the new flooring was installed but the surveyor had confirmed it was not level.
Councillors agreed to continue to monitor the situation, and to ask the management to nominate one of its members to act as a liaison with the authority while the dispute continued.
They confirmed the hall could now reopen. Councillor Harry Bebell praised the way the authority had handled the situation.
"We have covered all our bases," he added. "There's nothing legal they can come back on us with. The closure could have taken weeks and weeks to resolve but it has been done very quickly."