Countryside Properties have just had their controversial planning application put on hold. campaigners are now asking that the plans be "called-in" to the ODPM so that a Planning Inspector is appointed to oversee any decisions about the troubled site.
John Prescott promised that a request for "call-in" would be considered sympathetically by his office.
The Deputy Prime Minister also expressed his concerns about the dangers of asbestos. He explained how he had lost friends and colleagues to a "slow and lingering death from asbestos"
Save Spodden Valley handed a letter to John Prescott. (More details of the campaign can be fond at: www.Spodden-Valley.co.uk -type carefully- Countryside Properties have been busy buying up similar sounding domain names!)
Dear Mr Prescott
We are a non-political community campaign worried about the potential redevelopment of what was the world’s largest asbestos textile factory- the former Turner & Newall (T&N) site at Rochdale.
The world’s first asbestosis victim died as a result of this factory- Nellie Kershaw in 1924. The first mesothelioma (asbestos-cancer) victim was recognised by T&N in 1936.
Asbestos experts have concluded that hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of decisions made at this site.
Countless people have also died of environmental exposure to asbestos. People in Rochdale who have never worked with asbestos have died of mesothelioma.
Our research has found the potential for TENS of THOUSANDS of TONNES of dumped asbestos on the Spodden Valley site.
We are extremely concerned about a planning application to build about 600 homes and a children’s nursery of this site. Disturbing the soil and crushing the factory could release asbestos fibres.
We stress, we are NOT N.I.M.B.Y’s. We welcome the principles of urban regeneration and brownfield development encouraged by your office.
The asbestos factory site is an eyesore, we have lived with it ‘in our backyards’ for decades. We may welcome SAFE development, but public health must be a priority.
One more cancer death caused by asbestos from that site is one too many.
Our MP, Lorna Fitzsimons has been supportive from day one. We have the support of world-wide experts on public health and asbestos.
Mr Prescott, as a former member of the Merchant Navy, you will know only too well how dangerous even low-level exposure to asbestos dust can be. Many of your former co-workers are now suffering from asbestos related diseases.
At an appropriate time in the months ahead, you may receive a formal request to recommend “calling-in” the Spodden Valley planning application. We would be grateful if you could remember us at that time.
Save Spodden Valley