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Asbestos fears when church demolished
People living near a church containing asbestos fear they could be exposed to the dust when it is demolished.
The poisonous material was found in the ceiling of the hall of Chingford Hatch Methodist Church in Connington Crescent just before it was due to be knocked down to make way for a care home.
People only found out when a resident spotted a folder belonging to the company marked 'Asbestos' in the church hall.
They became concerned when sub-contractors were spotted burning materials in the rear of the church, causing smoke and dust to blow into their gardens.
London Demolition, the company responsible for the works, immediately ordered the fire to be put out as it broke company policy.
It has also moved to reassure the public, insisting measures are in place to ensure there is no threat to health.
But Pam Mitchell, 63, is not convinced.
She said: “Everybody’s worried about it. There are children living nearby.
“They say there’s going to be sprinklers and glue but they don’t know what the weather’s going to be like, there could be asbestos dust everywhere.”
Sue Honour, 61, also of Connington Crescent, also remains anxious about the demolition.
“It’s very disconcerting when they light a bonfire and you get dust and smoke coming into your garden. That really did concern me because I didn’t know what they were burning,” she added.
A 71-year-old man who also lives in the street but who refused to give his name, discovered there was asbestos in the church when he found a folder belonging to the demolition company inside the hall labelled ‘asbestos’.
“People see the word asbestos and they panic,” he said.
London Demolition has revealed the steps it will take to deal with the asbestos.
Thomas Greenham, from the firm, said: “Before demolition works are carried out a refurbishment and demolition asbestos survey is carried out. This survey is carried out to identify the presence of any asbestos.
"A refurbishment and demolition survey was carried out on June 20 2013 for 20 Connington Crescent. This survey identified 4sq m of asbestos cement in one of the room’s ceilings.
"We have soft stripped the building which will now enable the safe removal of the asbestos cement ceiling. This item will be removed in whole sections and will not be broken, which prevents the release of any asbestos fibres.
"In addition to this the product will be sprayed with a PVA Glue water solution as an extra precaution before removal which further prevents and supresses any fibre release. The asbestos cement will then be double bagged and taken to a licenced landfill for safe disposal.
"We were due to carry out these works today but some residents have raised concerns about the presence of asbestos and as a result we have ceased works on site and have arranged to meet with the concerned residents to reassure them that we are carrying out the works safely by going through the health and safety procedures and method statement that will be carried out which will ensure the health and safety of our operatives, neighbours and the general public."
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