MEETINGS have had to be relocated from Chichester’s County Hall after asbestos was discovered in the ceiling above the main chamber.
West Sussex County Council is unable to hold full council meetings in the chamber for the immediate future, as the whole roof needs to be taken off to get rid of the asbestos.
The roof’s removal was discussed at last week’s governance committee meeting, held in a separate room in County Hall, as councillors discussed changes to the webcast facility.
After the meeting, a spokeswoman for the county council said: “There are currently problems with the council chamber due to a roof leak earlier in the year.
“The ceiling of the chamber has an asbestos coating which was damaged by the water leak, resulting in the chamber having to be taken out of use.
“The decision has now been taken to remove the entire ceiling and eliminate the risks relating to asbestos.
“The work to remove the ceiling will take in the order of six to eight weeks to complete and there will then be a further period of six to eight weeks for the installation of a new ceiling.
“While we hope to be back in the chamber for the October council meeting, we will not be able to use it for either the June or July meetings.
“Arrangements will be made for the meeting to take place in room 140 of county hall where there will also be a public gallery. Committee room 3 will be used to show the live webcast to ensure there is full disabled access.”
The discovery of the asbestos has already led to one meeting of the full council being moved – with April’s meeting held at Chichester College.
The council said it was not yet able to confirm how much the repair work would cost. It currently has a tender out for contractors to carry out the work.