Asbestos clean-up and the cost of securing pier after blaze

MORE than 2,000 kilogrammes of potentially dangerous asbestos has been removed from the pier since October’s devastating fire.

It has also cost the borough council around £30,000 to hire security staff to prevent people going near the structure.

The news was revealed at a council meeting last Wednesday (December 22) by Councillor Peter Chowney, the lead councillor for regeneration and planning.

He said: “In total 2,330kg of asbestos and asbestos contaminated material has been removed from the parade extension and beach below.

“This has been taken away in approximately 400 specialist sealed sacks to the contractors’ waste transfer yard in Brighton and from there to a specialist licensed tip in Bedfordshire.”

He said air samples were taken in the surrounding area following fears that hundreds of spectators and members of the emergency services were exposed to asbestos.

Cllr Chowney said results showed that there were no harmful levels in the air.

He said: “The Health Protection Agency has advised that there was no significant health risk from removing the asbestos debris from the pier by using specialist contractors.

“Security staff around the pier are no longer needed and the last I heard was that it cost us around £30,000.”

Almost 90 per cent of the pier was destroyed during the blaze on October 5.

Since then Hastings Borough Council has spent £250,000 to make the pier safe amid fears that the structure may collapse.

Best Demolition, the firm contracted to make the pier safe in the short-term, has removed almost all the buildings on the top of the pier, including the once-popular bingo hall, and promenade of boutique shops.

Cllr Chowney said: “Demolition work has taken place ahead of schedule despite the recent bad weather so the main structure is looking better than it did.”

Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust is trying to raise money to keep the structure safe through the winter months.

It hopes to reopen it in 2013 providing it can secure millions of pounds of funding.