CAMPAIGNERS in Holbury are celebrating today after it was revealed that a waste disposal firm is planning to move deadly asbestos away from their homes.
Solent Environmental Services (SES) is seeking consent to close an asbestos transfer station in the middle of Holbury and move it to a new site on the outskirts of the village.
The existing facility is near homes, shops and the New Forest Academy – formerly Hardley School & Sixth-Form.
But large metal containers full of asbestos dust will be transferred from Long Lane, Holbury, to Hardley Industrial Estate if the scheme is approved.
The application has been welcomed by ward councillor Allan Glass, who was among those who campaigned against plans to open the current site.
Cllr Glass said: “It means the facility will be shifted away from residents, children walking to school and people visiting the local Co-op store.
“It may not be the best outcome for people living near the industrial estate, but they’ll be further away from the asbestos than those living in the Long Lane area.”
Fellow campaigners include parish councillor Barry Coyston, of Ivor Close, who lives near the existing transfer station.
He said: “When it leaves we’ll raise a glass and say ‘thank goodness for that’. But while I’m happy it’s moving away from here, I’d like to see it closed down.”
Hampshire County Council, which is due to debate the application on May 21, has so far received five objections to the proposed change of location.
The planning application says: “Solent Environmental now have new offices and are to move all operations to Hardley Industrial Estate.
“Solent Environmental acknowledge that the perception of exposed asbestos is not likely to be welcomed by the community so propose to exceed the codes of practice.”
An SES spokesman added: “The existing transfer station has been operating for a number of years, with no issues being raised by either the Environment Agency or the county council.”
The facility was opened in 2010 despite a huge campaign mounted by people living in Long Lane and Ivor Close.
Critics claimed that cancer-causing fibres might escape into the air, leaving a deadly legacy that could lie undetected for 20 years.
Asbestos is stripped from buildings, including schools and offices, double-bagged using industrial strength material and taken to SES, where it is stored before being transferred to a licensed disposal site.
But bosses at SES have always insisted that people in the area are not at risk.
Contracts manager Ian Chiddicks was once asked if he would be happy living next door to the site himself and replied: “Knowing the facts, yes.”