Asbestos scare shuts village allotments

The fenced-off allotments in Felton.
The fenced-off allotments in Felton.

ALLOTMENTS in a north Northumberland village have been condemned after three types of asbestos were discovered.

The site at Mouldshaugh Lane in Felton is now out of bounds and surrounded by a 12ft metal fence after tests by Northumberland County Council showed that the hazardous substance was present in the land.

Plots were only marked out and allocated to residents in the last few months. But they have now been forced to abandon the area.

Allotment-holder Richard Barnes uncovered the asbestos when he was digging at the site around two weeks ago.

Fellow plot-holders have now asked why it wasn’t checked before being allocated and if they will receive any compensation for the loss of plants.

Roger Barrie, of Main Street, said: “We would like them to find somewhere else for the allotments.

“It should have been tested before people used them. People have been waiting a long time for them.”

Rachel Blake, of West Thirston, added: “We were waiting for an allotment for two years and when the offer came up it was a bit small but at least it was something.

“We’ve only had it two or three weeks.We planted a lot of stuff on the Wednesday and then got a phone call from the parish council on the Thursday to say it was closed.”

A county council spokeswoman said: “Three types of asbestos have been found on the site and large and visible pieces have been removed by a specialist contractor.

“We have taken advice from the Health Protection Agency who advise that as the asbestos identified was uncovered for only a short period of time and because of the open-air location, it is highly unlikely that anyone will have been exposed to sufficiently high levels or duration to cause significant health effects.”