Questions asked as Steeple work goes ahead on busy trading day

Shopkeepers and shoppers complain about the asbestos removal work being carried out at Falkirk Steeple on a Saturday
Shopkeepers and shoppers complain about the asbestos removal work being carried out at Falkirk Steeple on a Saturday

Shoppers and traders were shocked work to remove asbestos from Falkirk Steeple was carried out on the town’s busiest shopping day.

The Steeple, in Falkirk High Street, is currently undergoing £750,000 of renovation, however people thought things went too far last Saturday when workers started removing asbestos from inside the premises, blocking off shoppers from a number of businesses on what is usually their most profitable day.

One shopper, astounded by the apparent lack of planning, said: “The work started early in the morning and finished at around 4pm. It was just unbelievable – they must have had so many options as to when they could carry out the work.

“Why did they choose a busy Saturday? I can’t wait to hear the reason for it.”

Falkirk MP John McNally contacted the council to try to get some answers.

He said: “To handle and transport materials like this on a weekend when more pedestrians are around and children are off school is far from ideal. I was contacted by some of the shopkeepers in the area on Saturday who were extremely concerned about loss of business due to the disruption.

“I believe they had insufficient notice that the work was going to take place and, as far as I’m aware, it could have been done during the week.”

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “Asbestos was discovered which required removal in line with statutory procedures to allow a replacement door to be installed. Despite the small area being treated, the contractor complied with the very strict procedures for the removal of Asbestos related material and so a number of vehicles were required to accommodate clean zones and shower vehicles and all site operatives were required to wear protective masks during the process.

“All the work was done safely within the confines of the site area and at no time were any members of the public at risk. To keep The Steeple restoration programme on schedule and to secure the necessary specialists for the work, it was unfortunate but unavoidable that this essential work was carried out at the weekend.

“The council and its partners have worked with local businesses to reduce, where possible, disturbance to their businesses during the essential town centre work.”