Council under fire for £63k asbestos clean-up

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THE “ludicrous” £63,465 spent last year by Market Rasen Town Council to clear asbestos littered soil from Mill Road Playing Field was the topic for debate at the authority’s meeting last week.

As reported in the Rasen Mail last year, soil, due to be used to create a new BMX track in Mill Road Playing Field, was found to be contaminated with asbestos.

The council has now published its accounts for the last 12 months and came under fire during public question time at its meeting last Wednesday for spending more than £63,000 on removing the waste.

Archie Farrow said: “£63,465 is a ludicrous amount of money. Why was this soil allowed to be delivered and dumped on our playing field.

“Why did the council pay £63,000 for it to be taken away when you must have known who flytipped it.

“Why has it not been revealed who organised and who provided the soil. It should be revealed because it should have been them paying for the removal not the taxpayer.”

Mayor Ken Bridger said that in hindsight mistakes were made, but that the soil had come from a number of locations in the surrounding area, mainly top soil from farms, and it was not possible to ascertain where the asbestos had come from.

The council did seek legal advice, Coun Bridger said, but could not recover its costs because no formal contract was made for the soil’s delivery.

Coun Graham Bower said he was still concerned by the mayor’s answer and why the council had paid for the asbestos to be removed and not those who delivered it, but was told it had to be dealt with by specialists, which made it a costly process.

Hazel Barnard also questioned the council’s accounts and why it still have outstanding debtors of £9,000 that had not been collected.

At the same meeting it was reported that Travis Perkins will move from its current location in Linwood Road to the vacant industrial lot in Jameson Bridge Street.

Councillors also discussed setting up a farmers market in the town, possibly alongside the existing Saturday market, and are looking for anyone interested in trading at the new event to contact the town clerk on 01673 842479.

Coun Linda Bowen was also nominated to contact the Community Rail Partnership to enquire whether it can help bring a better service to the town.

The action follows a change of timetable by rail operators East Coast Trains and East Midlands Trains.

The revised timetables mean that the connecting train from London now arrives at Newark Train Station a minute after the train to Market Rasen leaves.