Children's Centre delayed by oil discovery

A centre for education and specialist services for under-fives and their parents has been delayed as a result of contamination on the site it is set to occupy.

The Sure Start Children's Centre was originally expected to open its doors six months ago in Malvern, Worcestershire, but so far, work on the building has not even begun.

The project has been delayed after the construction firm appointed to do the work went into administration and the site was found to be badly contaminated with engine oil and diesel.

The land, which was bought by Worcestershire County Council in 2007, was formerly a depot.

The council said it bought the land, which is next to a medical centre, in "good faith" in a bid to bring the site back into use after a report showed that it had been remediated to a suitable standard for construction.

A council spokesman told edie: "In accordance to Government best practice, the local authority looks to use brownfield sites, and this site was allocated by Malvern Hills District Council for community use."

Council chiefs are still planning to go ahead with the project, and say the land is still appropriate for a Children's Centre, but it will require more work than originally thought.

The council has so far only spent £22,000 on purchasing the land and work on the site, but it is estimated that the cost of the cleanup will run into many thousands of pounds.

Lawyers for the council are now gathering information about reclaiming the costs of the cleanup but are remaining tight-lipped about the details.

Kate Martin



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