West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has raised residents’ concerns over the health and safety of the former Skelmersdale Sports Centre site in Digmoor.
The site, which has lay empty since 2013 following the closure of the sports centre and subsequent fire and demolition, has since been purchased by the property developer Gleeson Homes.
Gleeson were successful in securing planning permission from West Lancashire Borough Council, which included a financial benefit to the council of over half a million pounds through the New Homes Bonus.
However, having set up an on-site cabin and appearing to have begun initial remedial works, the cabin was suddenly removed, and workmen cleared of the site.
MP Rosie immediately contacted the council when concerned residents raised with her that there may be asbestos contamination on the site.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Local residents approached me after the workers and the on-site cabin had gone, with some saying it was due to the discovery of asbestos on the site.
“I immediately contacted West Lancashire Borough Council’ Planning Department to find out what was happening to the site and if there were any health or safety concerns for local residents, many who use the open area as a short cut, to walk their dogs or for children to play.
“It appears that Gleeson believed that two thirds of the site is contaminated.
“The council had stated that they understood that all asbestos from the structure has been removed from the site.
“When I took this up with the council on this, they provided me with the Campbell Reith study and the Factual and Interpretative Ground Investigation Report by WYG Environment from April 2016.
“The council have assured me that there is no suggestion in any of the survey information that the presence of low amounts of asbestos in the soil poses any risk to residents neighbouring the site.
“The council tell me that due to the cost associated with remediation, Gleeson Homes have paused development at the present times.
“Gleeson’s Chief Operating Officer has recently updated me to confirm the pause, but assured me they remain intent on developing the site.
“In the meantime, an order has been placed by Gleeson to secure the site with fencing panels.
“I will continue to monitor the situation and would ask local residents to keep me informed of any concerns they may have.”