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Work on The Panorama in Park Street, Ashford, stops for a week after contractors discover harmful asbestos behind a wall

By Samantha Williams

Work on The Panorama in Ashford has ground to a halt after asbestos was discovered on site.

Contractors came across the harmful material on Thursday in the Park Street development when tearing down a wall.

Developers Dukelease - who bought the building in 2008 - say the Health and Safety Executive were called in immediately and recommended that the site close for a week while further checks are carried out.

The Panorama

David O’Neil, development director at Dukelease said: “Asbestos was discovered at The Panorama during construction work when an area behind an existing wall was stripped back for renovation.

“Due to the building’s age, it is not unusual that asbestos would be present.

“Upon discovery we took immediate action to deal with it sensibly.

Dukelease development director David O'Neil

“We immediately notified the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who visited the site on Thursday, June 12 and recommended that the site is closed for one week while testing is carried out to ensure there is no other contamination."

Asbestos is a fire resistant material, which is why it was used for roofing, flooring, and heat insulation as late as the 1970s, before the cancer-causing effects of inhaling the fibres were fully known.

The material was banned in the UK by 1999.

The Panorama is closed for a week following the discovery of asbestos

The renovation of The Panorama - formally known as Charter House - began in May last year.

When complete the block will comprise of 232 one- and two-bedroom apartments over nine floors.

This includes 14 penthouse suites and eight duplex penthouses.

"We took immediate action to deal with it sensibly" - David O’Neil

Bosses insist that the week’s delay will not impact on the project’s completion date - which is scheduled for August this year.

Mr O’Neil added: “Dukelease is a responsible developer and we are fully co-operating with the HSE to resolve this in the best possible way.

“There should be no delay in the overall construction programme for the delivery of The Panorama.”

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