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Vandals target multi-million pound Newton Abbot Passmore Edwards Centre
9:07am Tuesday 23rd October 2012 in Devon
The new £ 2.8m Passmore Edwards Centre in Newton Abbot was flooded over the weekend when someone deliberate blocked two sinks in one of the public toilets on the first floor.
Staff at the Centre arrived at 8.30am to find the ground floor and first floor under water after taps had been purposely left running since Saturday afternoon.
The landmark town centre building has recently undergone extensive redevelopment to turn it into a new multi-service facility that houses a modern 21st century library, adult and community learning facility, and services that are supporting people with learning disabilities, as well as an IT suite, WIFI technology, café and meeting rooms available for local groups to use.
The clean up operation is underway, with large fans bought in to help dry out the affected areas as quickly as possible. The cost of the clear up is unknown as the extent of the damage will need to be assessed over the coming weeks, but is expected to be in the thousands.
Much of the water seems to have run behind walls or under floors, so checking the safety of the electrical equipment is a priority along with monitoring and cracks and splits which may appear.
Councillor Roger Croad, said: “I am absolutely appalled that such a valuable community resource has been the target of wanton vandalism. “The redevelopment project was a real partnership with the community, who worked hard to help us at every stage, and I’m sure everyone will be equally disappointed that somebody could behave this way and deliberately cause such damage.
“We have invested a great deal to ensure that residents in Newton Abbot and the surrounding areas have better access to information, learning and culture for the future, so the fact that anyone would try and destroy this excellent facility for generations to come is intolerable.
“The cost of the damage caused by the flooding is money we can ill afford to spend, and I’m sure everyone would agree that any money in the budget would be put to better use buying resources, or running activities to benefit the whole community rather than having to clear up after just one person’s irresponsible actions.
“The Police have been informed, and we are checking our cctv cameras for any clues as to who did this. Rest assured we will make sure all necessary action is taken to protect our facilities so residents can continue to enjoy them without fear of them being destroyed by such vandals.
“Meanwhile we are working to get the Centre fully back up and running as soon as possible, but unfortunately there will be some disruption whilst repair works are underway as it may be necessary to close the centre or parts of it."