Sleaford barbers temporarily closed after RAAC concrete discovery
Istanbul Barbers on Southgate announced its closure on Wednesday afternoon, saying that assessments into the site must take place after RAAC concrete was identified.
Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) is a lighter version of concrete that was used as a cheaper and quicker alternative to standard concrete, utilised between the 1950s and 1990s, but in recent times its presence has been cause for concern in a number of settings across the country.
The temporary closure comes just over a year after Istanbul Barbers opened in Sleaford, back in November 2022, and a reopening date has not yet been confirmed, due to a need for remedial works to take place beforehand. The premises had previously occupied by Andy’s Hospice shop.
Hundreds of schools implemented partial closures last year following the discovery of RAAC concrete in the construction of buildings, including at Grantham College & University Centre in Lincolnshire.
Parts of Scunthorpe General Hospital also had to be temporarily closed off after it was included in a Department of Health list of 42 hospitals infected by RAAC late last year.
Experts say it is less durable than regular concrete and has a lifespan of around 30 years. It is most commonly found in flat roofs, as well as ceiling panels, floors or walls.
Istanbul Barbers said in a statement: “It is with a heavy heart that we can now confirm that we will have to stay closed temporarily. Our landlord has identified that our premises has RAAC concrete in the building and ordered us to close immediately until the building has been assessed.
“While it is not the news we were hoping for, safety of course has to come first.
“We have poured our heart and soul into the business since it opened just over a year ago and it has devastated us to have to close like this. We are doing everything we can to explore our options – the possibility of temporarily relocating to a different premises in town is one that we are exploring.
“We are sorry to have to let our customers down, we value each and every one of you and thank you for your support in our first year of business. Please bear with us during this difficult time – we can’t wait to welcome you all back once we are open again!”
The responsibility for any risks and costs associated with RAAC rests with the building and/or estate owners, landlords and/or those responsible for managing the premises.
Coun Linda Edwards-Shea, member for Sleaford Castle Ward on Sleaford Town Council and North Kesteven District Council said: “This is disappointing news for Seref and the staff at Istanbul Barbers on Southgate. After working hard for the last year getting their business up and running, it’s unfortunate that they’ve found RAAC inside the building.
“I hope they’re easily able to get the remedial work done quickly or temporarily relocate.
“However, it is important to find and remove RAAC in our buildings because leaving it in place could be dangerous, so they are doing the right thing by closing while the work is being done.”
The Member of Parliament for Sleaford & North Hykeham, Dr Caroline Johnson, was also contacted for comment.