A COMMUNITY centre had to close to prevent an outbreak of legionella - the bacteria which causes the potentially fatal lung infection, Legionnaires' disease.

Berneslai Homes, which oversees the Lew Whitehead Centre in Ward Green for Barnsley Council, shut the centre last Monday.

A Berneslai Homes spokesman said it had carried out a planned risk assessment for legionella, which is found in sources of water, as part of a bi-annual inspection and revealed the concerns.

"The report identified a number of issues with the domestic hot and cold water system that require attention in order to prevent the possibility of legionella.

"As a precautionary measure while we assessed the scope and cost of works required, the centre was closed. No outbreak of legionella has occurred."

The matter causing most concern from the report was the fitting of a back flow device. Such devices protect water supplies from contamination from 'back flow', usually from contaminated groundwater.

The spokesman said this problem would be 'rectified immediately' so the centre could reopen.