Work on the rec to provide improved services for the Feast started on 5 March. Unfortunately, it has uncovered buried asbestos over a significant area. The rest of the Recreation Ground where there have been no excavations (e.g. the football pitches, cricket square, children’s play area, etc.) do not present any risk from asbestos GSPC has had specialist tests run on the contaminated material:
- Chemical tests have confirmed that the contamination is due to white asbestos encased in concrete (chrysotile). Whilst it is classed as a hazardous material, it is encased in concrete and any danger is minimal.
- Air tests have also been performed at multiple points and have confirmed there are no asbestos fibres in the air.
GSPC is confident that there is no safety risk to the public or to contractors working on the site. Work will continue over the next few weeks to excavate the trenches and drain connection.
During the work there will be on site monitoring by specialists to ensure that the correct procedures are adhered to and that contractors and the public are completely safe. All excavated material will be removed from the site and taken to a hazardous waste facility. New material will be brought in to replace the contaminated soil.
Where did the contamination come from? We don’t know and probably never will, but the finger has been pointed at the following as potential sources:
- Wartime military encampment.
- Old Memorial Hall roof.
- Robinson’s dairy.
The clean-up exercise is going to be costly. We don’t have the final figure, but believe it could be in the region of £35,000-£50,000. GSPC believes it essential to complete the work to safeguard public safety and to ensure we can complete the Feast and Playscape projects.