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Royal Borough moves to calm asbestos exposure fears over demolition site

The Royal Borough has moved to reassure residents after receiving ‘numerous complaints’ about the demolition of a site in Dedworth

Neighbours fear warehouse roof panels that were destroyed as part of the demolition of 61-63 Dedworth Road – the former site of DIY store Mahjacks –  in December 2017 may have contained asbestos.

The toxic material was used in many buildings constructed before the turn of the century.

One resident, Paul Stretton, hit out at the council over its lack of communication about the concerns, saying he feels ‘abandoned’ after waiting months for answers.

Speaking last week, he said: “We need to know what has happened.

“For us (residents) it is the lack of communication from the council, we almost feel abandoned.

“If we’ve heard nothing it seems there is something wrong.”

These concerns have been echoed by Cllr Helen Price (The Borough First, Clewer & Dedworth East) who said: “I met with residents adjacent to the old Mahjacks site in June and being concerned at what they told me about the manner of the demolition and the consequent potential risk of exposure to asbestos I prepared a comprehensive report on what had taken place which I submitted to the Royal Borough in July. 

“I was informed that a review was taking place, but, despite reminders, I have heard nothing and am thus unable to update residents.”

But, after being contacted by the Express, the Royal Borough this week released a statement confirming it does not believe ‘there was any apparent risk to the residents’ in the demolition.

A spokesperson said: “There have been numerous complaints regarding this site and it has been visited by the HSE, who are the primary enforcing body for sites where buildings are being demolished that may contain asbestos.

"From the information we have looked at, we do not believe there was any apparent risk to the residents.”

Update: Friday, December 13. 

We've received this comment from developers Patrick Ruddy Homes.

Lee Ruddy, director at Patrick Ruddy Homes, commented: "Patrick Ruddy Homes confirms that all works were carried out safely in accordance with British Standards and construction legislation.

"All asbestos-related works were undertaken by a licensed contractor, removed,  and disposed of,  in accordance with the Health & Safety Executive’s [HSE] Control Asbestos Regulations.  

"Any suggestion to the contrary is, at best, uninformed speculation.  We remain a considerate house builder,  committed to all matters of health & safety."

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