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Asbestos fear at Darwen allotments
PLOTS at a town’s only ‘allotment’ site will not be let out because of asbestos fears, a council has said.
Blackburn with Darwen Council bosses have closed the Harwood Street Garden Area in Darwen to new tenants, saying it could be contaminated with asbestos.
The land which sits between Harwood Street and Tockholes Road, features a large number of empty and neglected plots, leaving some potential users frustrated.
One Prospect Avenue resident said he had been on the waiting list for seven years and had complained to the council.
He said: “I have wanted one for years to grow fruit and vegetables with my children.
“But the council have said they won’t let any more people on there.
“I have been told there is asbestos in three plots, but 11 are empty. It just doesn’t seem fair.”
The Lancashire Telegraph has been shown a letter responding to the man’s complaints.
As well as confirming there are fears that asbestos could be present, it also refers to a ‘comprehensive property review’, suggesting the council may consider disposing of the site, or part of it.
The letter, signed by Laura Fish, of the property management and development department at Capita, said: “We unfortunately have had to closed the Tockholes Road site to new tenants.
“This is both because of the asbestos and the fact that a comprehensive property review of the garden area is scheduled to take place.
“It would not be appropriate to allow anyone on to the plots and incur costs when we do not know the outcome of the review and council members have not made decisions.
“Similarly, the costs to do a full site survey to identify where asbestos is present is considerably high in a time when the council needs to control expenditure.
“While the asbestos isn’t being disturbed, therefore minimising risk, the sensible option would be to await the outcome of the review, when a decision can be made as to the course of action the council wishes to take.”
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