A safety watchdog has rapped Waltham Forest Council over its handling of asbestos at the town hall.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a series of improvement orders on the authority stating it has failed to draw up legally-required plans for, and records of, managing the cancer-causing fibre at the site in Forest Road, Walthamstow.

Last year it emerged that all three types of asbestos - including its most dangerous blue variety - had been found in multiple rooms of the town hall, potentially putting dozens at risk.

It was then revealed that the council had known about the issue since the 1980s but had continued to store sensitive documents in one of the rooms affected.

The authority then announced it would have to destroy around 5,000 of the documents amid concerns they may have been contaminated, although it pledged to electronically copy some "important" financial and legal paperwork.

The news comes as the HSE continues its investigation into the council over the handling of asbestos at all its buildings in the borough.

THis includes the former Warwick School for Boys site in Brooke Road, Walthamstow, where pupils at St Mary's Primary School were due to relocate until asbestos was also found there last summer.

And in February the HSE launched an investigation into the council's handling of water systems in some schools, following concerns there was a risk of the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria developing.

The HSE asbestos improvement order, published this week, states the council failed to "draw up a suitable and sufficient plan to manage the asbestos or any asbestos containing substances" and had failed to "record how the plan will be implemented".

Nick Tiratsoo, a community worker of Odessa Road in Leytonstone, helped publicly uncover news of asbestos at the town hall when he tried unsuccessfully to obtain election records from the council last year.

He told the Guardian: "The council endlessly trumpets its alleged merits in public, but this development once again exposes the tawdry everyday realities.

"The town hall is used by thousands of people every month, both staff and visitors, yet the the council now stands condemned for failing to take the elementary steps which are required to deal with the building’s asbestos.

"Moreover, we know that HSE investigations continue on other council sites. Asbestos is too dangerous to mess around with. Perhaps [council leader] Cllr Chris Robbins can tell us exactly what is going on?"

The Guardian is awaiting a comment from the council.