A court has heard that the owners of one of the UK’s best-known seaside piers created a major risk to the public in their handling of the demolition of an asbestos-lined arcade.
As reported by the Blackpool Gazette, locals and holidaymakers were allowed to roam in close vicinity as asbestos fibres from Blackpool’s South Pier floated along the Promenade, with people even being allowed into the arcade where the work was being undertaken.
Blackpool Magistrates heard that the owners of the pier – The Blackpool Pier Company – cut corners in an attempt to save money, as a circus-style roof was removed above the main landward arcade.
Blackpool Council, described the firm’s culpability as “very high”, adding: “The removal of asbestos was unsafe and uncontrolled. There was a major health risk on their hands to the public and the three men who worked on it.
She said that when Health and Safety officers intervened, it took nine days to clean up outside the pier and 12 days to clean up inside the pier, with the clean-up team working day and night on 12-hour shifts to finish the job.
Ms Bennett continued: “When council staff found asbestos on machines and the Promenade, a prohibition notice was served on the company closing areas down. The three members had used a Hoover to clean asbestos from the arcade carpet.
Company directors Fiona Blaylock and Peter Sedgwick Jr admitted to offences of failing to ensure the health and safety of the firm’s employees. The company itself, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to eight offences of failing to ensure the health and safety of employees and the public, and allowing asbestos fibres to be released into the atmosphere.
Sentencing will take place at Preston Crown Court on 4th December.
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