THE discovery of unanticipated asbestos at two schools in Monmouthshire could land the local authority with a £350,000 clean-up bill.

A report reveals the potential overspend as part of works to demolish buildings at Caldicot School and Monmouth Comprehensive.

Both sites are being redeveloped as part of the 21st Century Schools programme, a £90 million investment in new-build schools by Monmouthshire County Council and the Welsh Government.

The new Caldicot School opened its doors in September 2017 but the remaining programme of work, including extensive landscaping within its grounds, has been delayed due to the findings.

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Caldicot School

Asbestos was found at Caldicot during the demolition process of the old buildings, the oldest of which dates back to 1958.

The harmful substance was also found at Monmouth during the preparation stages prior to demolition.

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Caldicot School's 'Castle' building being demolished. Pic: Paul Rogers

Will McLean, chief officer for children and young people at MCC, said: “The authority undertook all normal and necessary surveys.

“However, material was discovered in areas that could not originally be accessed by the pre-demolition surveys and were highlighted when buildings were exposed.”

The council say all asbestos removal followed national regulations and was contained within controlled construction sites, which were “fenced off and posed no danger to pupils”.

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Caldicot School’s former buildings have now been fully demolished and work on soft and hard landscaping is “nearly complete” ahead of a late October deadline.

Monmouth Comprehensive’s new school building opened its doors to pupils this week, but the rest of the school is not expected to be finished until May 2019.

“The Caldicot School programme has been delayed due to the discovery, the school itself was already open and the main access routes available prior to the final demolition and landscaping phase,” continued Mr McLean.

“The discovery has not caused any other issues and the asbestos has been removed, works are to be completed as per originally designed.”

The estimated six-figure cost of clearing the unexpected asbestos has been highlighted in a report outlining potential financial activity in 2018/19.

The report is due to be discussed by the council’s strong communities select committee on Thursday.