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Asbestos is 'not a threat'

Just a day after three derelict bungalows in North Solihull were set ablaze by vandals, a fourth property was also set alight by arsonists sparking fears of a possible asbestos contamination

Just a day after three derelict bungalows in North Solihull were set ablaze by vandals, a fourth property was also set alight by arsonists sparking fears of a possible asbestos contamination.

The buildings, in Blackbird Croft, Smith's Wood, are empty and set for demolition as part of the borough's £1.8 billion regeneration project for the area.

The fourth bungalow was torched last Thursday (November 7), an act which, Malcolm Cullen, chairman of the Arran Way residents association, says has increased the risk to residents as he believes the properties are contaminated with asbestos.

He said: "The regeneration people should vacate no more properties and deal with the ones they've already got. It's not just vandalism and fires now.

"My main concern is for the health and welfare of those living in this environment. It's not safe. There's a nursery just behind the bungalows and it's not today, it's in the future. Once asbestos is disturbed then it's in the atmosphere."

But Solihull Council denies there is any risk.

Roger Griffiths, from North Solihull Partnership said: "We strongly condemn the actions of these mindless vandals. They have no consideration for the impact on fellow neighbours and those that have to deal with the aftermath.

"Before any demolition we conduct through risk assessments in line with very strict health and safety executive guidelines and have specialist contractors who remove any asbestos before demolition.

"There is no danger to health as a result of these fires as they caused minimal structural damage to the properties.

"We take security of these properties very seriously and along with Solihull Community Housing, conduct regular inspections to make sure they are safe.

"Properties that are due for demolition are placed into groupings. Some properties have been empty longer than others because we cannot begin the demolition process until we have re-housed all tenants. We are unable to carry out staggered demolition as service mains need to be disconnected.

We fully appreciate the impact vandalism has on the community and are working closely with our colleagues at SCH to ensure empty properties are secure before we can begin demolition."

 

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