‘Lives at risk’ due to asbestos at former Essex bingo hall
A builder has warned that public health is being imperilled by the presence of discarded asbestos at a disused Basildon bingo hall, in another development that helps to draw attention to the continued pressing need for the highest standard of asbestos awareness training across the UK.
Local authority warned three times about fibres
35-year-old construction manager Dal Herbert said he spotted the lethal substance at the side of the one-time Gala Bingo building in High Road, Pitsea, while on his way to the shops. He said to Essex-based newspaper The Echo that it appeared developers had pulled down the building’s ceiling to attempt to prevent it from falling, unaware that dangerous asbestos was being exposed as a result.
Mr Herbert said that he had got in touch three times over a several-week period with Basildon Council, which, it has since emerged, had ordered that the suspended ceiling be removed.
He commented: “Someone had pulled down the ceiling of the building, obviously trying to make it safer, but not knowing asbestos was there.
“I alerted environmental health at Basildon Council three times, but I was told it wasn’t their problem as it’s a private property.”
He expressed particular concern for the health of users of a bus stop in front of the building, adding: “There’s hundreds of people using that bus stop and everyone is oblivious. It’s very dangerous.
“Asbestos causes lung cancer and the symptoms don’t show for 20 to 30 years. You breathe in the fibres and they hook into your lungs.”
“If nothing is done it’ll be like the Grenfell Tower fire”
Similar sentiments were voiced by Hiren Dave, the owner of Shiv Food and Wine on Pitsea Broadway, who said: “Dal has warned me about it. He told me to make sure I tell people – especially old people because they always use the bus stop.
“If nothing is done it’ll be like the Grenfell Tower fire and it’ll be too late to do anything.”
According to The Echo, a Basildon Council spokesman has since confirmed that the local authority’s building control team asked the owner of the building to remove a suspended ceiling on the grounds of it being “in a dangerous state”.
The spokesman added: “It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure the building is safe and any debris is disposed of responsibly.”
Such news of exposed asbestos fibres on a sensitive site like this – particularly so close to a frequently used bus stop – alarmed our team here at Trident Asbestos Solutions as much as it alarmed Mr Herbert and, we are sure, many of the users of our services.
Contact our team today for more information about the difference that our asbestos awareness training could make to your own team’s ability to identify and appropriately tackle asbestos on the sites for which it has responsibility.