Councillor pleads that asbestos mistakes are not repeated

September 11, 2008 12:00 AM

Councillor William Hobhouse - Putting Rochdale FIRST!As Rochdale Online revealed that T&N pushed its own commercial interests ahead of the health priorities of its employees, Rochdale Township chairman Councillor William Hobhouse has said that campaigners fighting for safe development at TBA should remain worried that past mistakes will be repeated.

The balance at the site of what was once the world's largest asbestos factory is now between commercial development interests and health after housing developers Countryside Properties submitted a planning application to build on the site four years ago.

Councillor Hobhouse said: "Despite persistent lobbying from Paul Rowen MP and others, there are still big gaps in the regulatory framework for asbestos fibres in soil. It is now four years since the planning application was submitted, yet we have not moved on much from the famous quote from Countryside Properties: 'of particular note is the absence of any asbestos'.

"If we are not to repeat the fatal mistakes of yesteryear, the Council will need to question the assumptions behind its Area of Opportunity for the site, and start to properly understand which site areas can and can't be developed, and why.

"For a year now, I have been asking for proper soil sample testing of the whole site, to establish the extent and concentration of asbestos.

"Proper scientific data and analysis remains the only safeguard for our children and grandchildren's health."