Confusion as Barking asbestos fears prompt panic

Joseph Plaskett with the warehouse at the end of his garden

Joseph Plaskett with the warehouse at the end of his garden - Credit: Archant

Fears that protective clothing used during the disposal of asbestos could be stored just yards from one of Barking’s busiest housing estates has caused outrage among residents.

The former Cape Asbestos factory in Barking

The former Cape Asbestos factory in Barking - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of people have signed a petition opposing a planning application which could potentially see the toxic fibres stored in a former car parts building in Lyon Business Park, in River Road.

Mixed messages have added to their concerns as OCS Group Limited, the company which submitted plans to Barking and Dagenham Council, has claimed that the application for an asbestos transfer and waste storage facility was made in error – although the council says that amended plans will use the development as storage for onward disposal of protective clothing “used on sites where asbestos is prevalent”.

Joseph Plaskett, 67, of Charlton Crescent, lives just 10 metres away from the site and has launched the petition to try to halt proceedings – 46 years after Barking’s notorious Cape Asbestos factory closed.

“Barking has already been decimated by asbestos,” he told the Post. “I think it’s outrageous. There’s still people working around here that are dying because they worked at Cape Asbestos.”

Parag Soshi and Fiona Lamb, from Care Optics in Farr Avenue, both signed the petition.

Parag Soshi and Fiona Lamb, from Care Optics in Farr Avenue, both signed the petition. - Credit: Archant

Although the Harts Lane plant has been shut for almost half a century, its deadly legacy lives on, with hundreds being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer and dying in the years since.

The Barking factory showered locals with its lethal dust as it made fire-resistant materials for houses and schools. And with Thames View Junior School, Bastable Avenue, just a stone’s throw from the business park, Joseph has blasted those involved in the new plans. “This is so toxic and Barking knows more than anywhere how toxic it is,” he added.

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Parag Soshi, 45, is one of the many who signed the petition.

“It’s ridiculous to put anything like that round here,” he said. “People know the deadly effects, and there are so many homes.”

An OCS spokeswoman denied that clothing and gloves used in asbestos removal will be stored on the Barking site.

Details of the application are available on the council website. Comments can be made until Thurdsay, May 7.