What was removed from Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells, in February 2002?

Did it involve illegal removal of asbestos?
Residents tried to find out and soon realised that authorities are reluctant to find answers.
Crest Nicholson, owner of the site during the incident says: "We took nothing from the building"
01.10.2002 - CALA Homes proceeds in removing asbestos from the site despite the refusal of their Scheme of Works





01.11.02 - COMMENT - THE ASBESTOS STORY
Another tale of the Tunbridge Wells Council officers' behaviour


16.10.02 - Letter from TWBC Operational Services, John Haynes
"Crest Homes (the site owner up to April 2002) have confirmed that they did not undertake works on the site but simply secured it by removing the rubbish that had built up on site" - Question: Why then does the site still look so messy?


14.10.02 - Letter from Health and Safety Executive, Inspector Peter Collingwood
"We did not visit Telephone House during the removal of the asbestos materials from the building."


07.10.02 - THNA letter to Health and Safety Executive, Inspector Peter Collingwood
It does seem extraordinary that surreptitious work was carried out in February. If it was mere debris, not asbestos, which was removed by bags and chutes,
- why was it so urgent that it could not be left until such time as the building be demolished?
- And why the reluctance to find out
- and inform us what was removed?


07.10.02 - THNA e-mail to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Operational Services, John Haynes
Will the removal of asbestos in October 2002 jeopardise John Haynes' Inquiry into what was removed 8 months earlier?


02.10.02 - Letter from TWBC Planning and Building Control Services, Nigel Eveleigh
"CALA Homes have confirmed, that what is being removed comprises asbestos from the redundant heating system (lagging and pipework). This operation does not, in my view, constitute 'demolition' and it does not, therefore, require approval under the 'Scheme of Works'


01.10.02 - THNA e-mail to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Planning and Building Control Services, Nigel Eveleigh
Asbestos removal started on 1st October
- Why are these works, as part of the refused Work Scheme, started as of this morning?
- Were they authorised?
- By Whom?


29.09.02 - THNA letter to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Operational Services, John Haynes
We have to ask the uneasy questions:
- What was the motivation of the officer Duncan Haynes not to pursue the matter in due time?
- And then again: What was removed?
- Why the reluctance to find out?


26.09.02 - Letter from Health and Safety Executive, Inspector Peter Collingwood
"at the time of this alleged activity the local authority was the enforcing authority for health and safety legislation in this building as it is an office building and therefore HSE would not have had any powers to investigate your complaint . . . . . No suspicious debris was seen in any part of the building. There was no evidence of any recent asbestos removal work"


22.09.02 - THNA letter to Health and Safety Executive, Inspector Peter Collingwood
Clearance work started on Monday, 4 February 2002 with several builders on the site. This must have been authorized by the owner of the building at that time, namely Crest Nicholson, as the gates were unlocked that day, and left open.


16.09.02 - Letter from Crest Nicholson Residential (South East) to CALA Homes (South)
"We took nothing from the building"


13.09.02 - Letter from TWBC Operational Services, John Haynes
"I do not consider that it is now practical to undertake a full enquiry into the material removed in February . . . . The removal of hazardous waste is more likely to be a breach of the Health & Safety Act than a criminal act "


08.09.02 - THNA letter to Health and Safety Executive, Inspector Peter Collingwood
Who would be responsible for carrying out forensic tests before the demolition starts?


04.09.02 - Letter from Health and Safety Executive, Inspector Peter Collingwood
"Telephone House when it was an office building would fall to the local authority (Tunbridge Wells Borough Council) for enforcement of health and safety legislation. However, any construction work that the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 1994 apply to, would fall to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for enforcement purposes - this would include demolition of the existing building and construction of any new buildings."


01.09.02 - THNA letter to Health and Safety Executive, Peter Collingwood
Are you in a position to take this matter into legal procedure, if not who is?


01.09.02 - THNA letter to Tunbridge Wellls Borough Council, Operational Services, John Haynes
Would you support a full enquiry (if necessary the involvement of the police) to set our minds at ease or find whoever was responsible for this action?


12.06.02 - Letter from TWBC Planning and Building Control Services, Nigel Eveleigh
"Health and Safety Plan is a matter THNA would need to take up with CALA Homes"


07.06.02 - Letter from TWBC Environmental Services, Karin Fankhauser
"Any complaints of an environmental health nature and within our jurisdiction that are received, with regards to problems experienced on the site, will be investigated.
With regards to health and safety enforcement, responsibility rests entirely with the Health and Safety Executive."


05.06.02 - THNA letter to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Environmental Services, Duncan Haynes, copied to CALA Homes, Arthur Mann
How can you have failed to give us adequate and accurate answers to all the letters and e-mails that we have sent to you."


05.06.02 - e-mail from TWBC Environmental Services, Duncan Haynes
Without answering any questions, he promises: "This Service and the Local Authority Planning Department will of course monitor the situation as work progresses in order ensure that the developers and their contractors employ all measures, which are reasonably practicable to reduce any impact on the residential amenity of the area."


03.06.2002 - Resident's letter to Health and Safety Executive, East and South East Division, Ashford
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council appears to be relinquishing all responsibility on the removal of hazardous material. This would be contrary to what you have told me.


26.05.2002 - Resident's letter to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Principal Building Control Surveyor, Patrick Arthur
The building was known to be empty, as recalled by the residents from the site visit, together with the Inspector. [Malcolm Lewis, Inspector at the Public Inquiry 01.05.01]
What was removed from the building?


09.05.02 - THNA letter to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Environmental Services, Duncan Haynes, copied to CALA Homes, Arthur Mann.
Why have we received no replies to our previous queries with regard to safety and environmental hazards regarding this site?


14.03.02 repost of 06.02.02 - Letter from Telereal, clarifying the ownership of Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells.
It would appear from your letter that the management problems on site are continuing, therefore can I suggest that you liase with Ken Munday of Crest Homes (01959 564282) in the first instance as they now own this site. (as of November 2001).


12.03.02 - THNA letter to Southgate Developments (BT), copied to TWBC Environmental Services, Duncan Haynes, and Leader of the Council, James Scholes
Two vans were seen on the site on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (8th - 10th March), for what purpose remains unclear.


11.03.02 - THNA e-mail to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Environmental Services, Duncan Haynes
Unfortunately I received no reply to my e-mail of the 7th February 2002 regarding hazardous material used in the building of Telephone House which would have a serious impact on the area during demolition.


07.02.02 - THNA e-mail to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Environmental Services, Duncan Haynes
Clearance has been going on inside Telephone House since Monday last (04.02.02). If the building is to be demolished, this seems strange.


06.02.02- e-mail from TWBC Environmental Services, Duncan Haynes
Accumulation of waste: "Should you wish to register a complaint, I would ask that you contact me at your earliest convenience in order to provide details of the problem"


31.01.02 - THNA letter to Southgate Developments (BT), copied to TWBC Environmental Services, Duncan Haynes, and Leader of the Council, James Scholes
. . .you "suspected that the site would remain vacant for a further 6 months", you promised "we will do all that we can to ensure that the site is kept in a safe and tidy condition."
Unfortunately a year has passed and the site left to deteriorate still further.




Is CALA Homes really going ahead with THAT scheme?

Whom are we dealing with? - The developers of Telephone House

The Telephone House Neighbours Association informs on CALA Homes (South) Development:
CALA Group acquired the controversial planning permission for the high density development of Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN1, Kent.