West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper visited West Lancashire Investment Centre to meet with tenants during the recent heatwave because the air conditioning and ventilation at the site had broken down.
WLIC based at Whitemoss Business Park has been without a building “chiller” or adequate air conditioning for weeks, but the rise in temperatures last week have left the workers and business owners angry, hot and bothered. There are no windows to open in the building so there is no air at all through the offices.
The problems with the air conditioning have been going on for years, with problems evident even in the winter. So to be told nine weeks ago it would take 12 weeks to get a replacement chiller was described as “unacceptable” by the tenants. The Council offered temporary “office coolers” which just cannot cope with the heat and have leaked over the carpets.
Personal Care Services, who have operated out of the premises since 2013 felt they were getting no support from the landlord West Lancashire Borough Council, when raising their concerns over the impact the 35 degree heat in their offices was having on staff.
In response to a plea for help one tenant was told, in an email “we are aware” and nothing else.
Many of the business tenants in the centre are now operating ‘work from home’ systems and indeed refusing to pay their rent or service charges until the issue is addressed.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“This is a truly shocking situation where the Council is happy to continue to collect thousands of pounds in rent and service charges but leave the tenants to work in 35 degree heat and not address the actual issue of the air conditioning.
“Astonishingly, the workplace (health, safety and welfare) regulations stipulate a minimum working temperature but not a maximum one, or else WLBC would find themselves in legal difficulties.
“These businesses are paying money but not getting fair service. As one said, “the Council have spent around £4,000 on a giraffe for the foyer -; it would have been better spent on the air conditioning.
“Tenants have been raising their issues with the council but getting nowhere so contacted me on Wednesday. Upon taking this up with the Chief Executive, they finally sent a senior director to speak with the tenants on Thursday, which unfortunately did not assure the tenants that this matter would be resolved quickly.
“I am still awaiting a response from the council about how they have managed this mess so far, how they intend to resolve the immediate problems and how they intend to ensure the Air conditioning is fit for purpose. If they can’t get this right, perhaps it’s time to replace the windows with ones that can open?”
Pictured: Rosie Cooper MP with Manager Roy Hampson and Director Nicola Connolly of Personal Care Services