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Asbestos find at school hits relocation plans

CONCERNS have been raised about the council's handling of asbestos in public buildings following revelations over the discovery of the toxic fibre in a school.

The authority is already under investigation by the government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) over its handling of the problem in Waltham Forest Town Hall, but details have now emerged of how a school relocation has been thrown into disarray due to a similar find.

St Mary's Church of England Primary in The Drive, Walthamstow, was due to move to the former Warwick School site in Brooke Road in September as part of a £3 million scheme to treble its intake to help ease the borough's pupil places shortage.

Ahead of the move, three classes and 18 staff relocated to Brooke Road early in September 2011 but the entire project was put on hold last month when asbestos was found at the site.
 

One source described the aborted relocation as a "shambles" and questioned why the council had not known about the asbestos sooner.

Cllr Coghill said the council had held a number of drop-in sessions with parents.

She added: "Asbestos poses no health risk when it is undisturbed... however it is obviously imperative that safety is given the highest priority and the correct procedures are followed."

TOWN HALL ASBESTOS 'WORSE THAN ORIGINALLY THOUGHT'

CAMPAIGNERS have discovered that the amount of dangerous asbestos found at Waltham Forest Town Hall is even greater than previously realised.

Community worker Nick Tiratsoo has been given the final version of a council-commissioned report into the issue which reveals the fibre was not just confined to the building's basement - where thousands of important documents are stored.

He said: "At first, we were told that asbestos contamination was confined to the Town Hall basement. Then the draft report showed that it was present in two locations on the ground floor. And now the final report adds a third location on the ground floor. What else will be revealed?

"The council seems to be dripping out bad news bit by bit."

The council says it cannot comment on the town hall asbestos issue until the HSE investigation is complete.

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