Labour councillors have uncovered a long list of problems with Barnet Council's new waste Depot at Oakleigh Road South, including subsidence, poorly designed MOT inspection ramps, vehicle washbays and equipment lifts.
The Oakleigh Road Depot 'Register of defects and issues' dated 23 May 2018 lists 65 problems, 29 of which are still unresolved, and 12 of which have been outstanding since the Depot first opened in August 2017.
The Register details vehicle washbays that "are not suitably designed for the purpose of washing the refuse vehicles", an MOT inspection ramp that is "too small and narrow requires widening for movement of Jacking beam", a jacking beam that "needs to be upgraded to lift the buses", a weighbridge that "cannot be used as the software is not connected with the rest of the site", inspection bays of "inadequate size to undertake required inspections / servicing", and cracks in the tarmac and concrete floor leading to the fuelling station.
A structural engineer report by Capita on the cracks in the tarmac states "During the design process it became apparent that the ground was poor and that some settlement was probable due to heavy loading from vehicles traversing the area regularly."
The report also states that "During the development of the scheme at detailed design and into the construction phase, there was a concern that the soft clays making up the plateau could be problematic."
The report goes on to say that "The cracking we have observed presents no obvious danger to the service users of the facility and there was no evidence to suggest that continued use of the area by the site operator would result in catastrophic failure of the road surface or retaining wall. Notwithstanding the above, please note there will be a more general requirement for continual maintenance of the surfacing over the whole site, including this particular area, as mentioned earlier."
A second "independent" structural engineer report by Capita subsidiary, Re, into the subsidence suggests that "It should be confirmed the retaining wall design has included a surcharge loading to allow for heavy vehicles."
The cracking in the tarmac was first raised on 18 August 2017. The structural engineer reports are dated March and April 2018 - over 7 months later. The defect is flagged as a number 1, red, high priority that is either a health and safety issue, or an issue preventing the operation of the service. The subsidence remains unresolved.
Conservative councillors at last night's Environment Committee voted against Labour's call for an inquiry into the Depot and missed bin collections, saying that work to fix things was ongoing, and councillors would be told the outcome of the investigation into vehicle breakdowns and the cracked floor.
Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “The list of defects at Oakleigh Depot suggest it is unsuitable as a site for this type of operation, poorly designed and simply not fit for purpose. Is it any wonder there have been so many missed bin collections over the last few months?
“Capita seem to have made basic errors in the design spec for the Depot, nothing seems to work and staff are expected to just get on with it.
"The Council is having to argue with the contractor as to who is going to foot the bill for all the extra work that is needed to fix the problems.
"There is a obviously going to be on going maintenance costs to deal with the subsidence, which the Council won't have factored in to their budgets.
"And we now have the ridiculous situation where one part of Capita is marking the other part's homework.
"This is just not good enough, and we will be continuing our call for an inquiry into the Oakleigh Depot until we get answers."
1. 5 June Environment Committee - Member's Item from Cllr Schneiderman calling for an inquiry into the Oakleigh Depot and missed bin collection fiasco: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s46538/Members%20Items.pdf
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