FAILURES by the city council to properly prepare for the demolition of a former city swimming pool have been revealed in a report.

An internal audit over decisions made about the future of Sansome Walk swimming pool said Worcester City Council did not do enough to set out the risks of demolishing the asbestos-filled building and failed to review the project properly or frequently enough.

The audit, ordered by councillors, said the city council did not include the cost of important surveys to look for hazardous materials in its original budget, which it should have done by law, despite knowing the building contained asbestos.

The council also put too much focus on the bad state of Sansome Walk as a reason for building Perdiswell and did not consider the risks properly or look at all the options for the site, the report said.

The city council said it had made several improvements from the ‘lessons learned’ audit including the creation of a team to manage the project and a management strategy for council assets and a team to directly manage the council’s assets.

According to the report, Sansome Walk swimming pool was not considered a risk and did not appear on any of the council's risk registers nor was detailed information about the risks given to councillors during committee meetings and, as a result, decisions may have been “ill-informed.”

The audit said the city council was not involved enough in the day-to-day running of the project – particularly as costs grew. Yesterday, the city council said they could not yet give the 'exact demolition costs' as expert work was still underway. A previous estimate put it at £1.9m - before more asbestos was discovered at the site.

The audit found no evidence that when the earliest decisions were made that the council had any idea of the value of the Sansome Walk site.

Auditors said files were disorganised and difficult to locate and potentially sensitive information was unnecessarily duplicated.

A council spokesman said: “Sansome Walk swimming pool has been closed since December 2016 and the city council shares the community’s desire to get this site back into use. The existence of asbestos in the building has always been understood and the site safely managed. However, the costs of demolition, taking account of the asbestos implications, were not fully understood. The council has been commissioning expert opinions, which has contributed to the delay in being able to demolish and then bring forward development proposals for the site.

“The purpose of the review was to take lessons learned from this complex capital project so that future council projects can benefit.”