FoSS response to Asbestos found in Paddington Cemetery





Thursday 1 February 2018

Statement from the Chair of Friends of Salusbury School regarding the Asbestos found in Paddington Cemetery

Dear Friends,

As you will all by now be aware, our Greenspace is currently closed whilst we await tests on our soil following the discovery of asbestos in Paddington Cemetery.  The Friends of Salusbury School Committee and Greenspace representatives have spent the last few days working closely with the school, attending a meeting with the Friends of Paddington Cemetery, reading the Council’s published reports and consolidating information to isolate the facts and consider our approach. 

Having taken the time to do this, our initial priority is to work with the school and Brent to ensure the Greenspace is safe and assist its reopening as soon as possible so that the children can continue to benefit from its learning opportunities in a safe and healthy environment.  To that end, we will be working with the school to apply pressure on the council to provide a date and timeline for testing and results of these tests.  We will also be applying pressure to ensure that the Council keeps us informed as to all further developments on the situation, once the soil has been tested.

We are very grateful for Michelle Ginty’s prompt action and response to the issue and fully support her request for tests.  We have contacted Michelle this week to support her actions and request that the school continues to apply pressure on the council on the following matters as priority:

  • Ensure that testing of the Greenspace happens as a matter of urgency and as soon as possible
  • Confirm a date and timeline for the soil testing process – specifically, the date for testing and date for findings report
  • To seek clarification from Brent on next steps once the level of risk is clarified and the proposed course of action shared

Alongside this course of action, the committee is concurrently working to seek answers regarding the circumstances surrounding the asbestos discovery specifically the lack of notification to the school, storage and disposal of contaminated soil.

We have just been informed that Brent Council will be hosting a public meeting on this matter on Tuesday 6 February at 7pm at the Kilburn Housing Co-operative, Kilburn Square, Victoria Road, Kilburn, NW6 6PT.  As a result, we will be cancelling the next FoSS meeting, due to happen the same evening, and attending this instead.  We have also asked the school to send representatives from the Senior Leadership Team and Governors. 

How you can help

Brent has agreed to test the soil, but we still await dates and timelines for results and answers as to how this hazard came to be in such close proximity to the school without notification.  We therefore urge all Friends to:

  1. Email Brent Council requesting:
  • That the soil testing of the Greenspace happens with absolute urgency
  • That the results of the Greenspace soil are expedited and reported on with complete clarity
  • That they explain their decision not to notify the school of the discovery, disturbance or removal of the asbestos, putting our children in harm’s way
  • That they confirm next steps once the exact nature of the situation is established
  • They make public the complete Audit Advisory Committee (AAC) internal audit relating to all the circumstances of the works at Paddington Cemetery.

Your email should be directed to the Cemeteries department at [email protected] and cc in our local Queens Park ward councillors: 

[email protected]; [email protected]; [email protected]

  1. Please come along to the public meeting if you possibly can.

Friends of Salusbury School stand firmly in their disappointment of Brent Council’s actions surrounding this matter and are committed to ensuring the Greenspace is back in use as soon as possible without risking health and safety.  We are also committed to demanding answers from the council as to how such a large oversight could have happened in the notification process and ensure it does not happen again.

Kind regards,

Francesca Burtt-Jones
Friends of Salusbury School