Horsham family’s anger at asbestos discovery

JPCT 220513 S13220062x Horsham. Colin Smith with Leon, 16 months in bathroom -photo by Steve Cobb
JPCT 220513 S13220062x Horsham. Colin Smith with Leon, 16 months in bathroom -photo by Steve Cobb

A family from Horsham were shocked to discover asbestos in their home, two years after a house survey which should have identified it.

Dad Colin Smith told the County Times they will have to move into a hotel for five nights while the asbestos is removed.

“It’s not so easy when you’ve got three children,” he said, “to be stuck in the one room for five days. I keep asking why it was overlooked in the first place.”

They moved into the Saxon Weald home several years ago, after arranging a mutual exchange.

A house survey should have revealed the asbestos, but instead it was found in the eaves by Mr Smith while he was clearing space for contractors to get in and look for the cause of a damp problem.

He realised what it was because he has spent much of his life working as a building labourer - Mr Smith pointed out that another person in that situation might not have recognised it.

He immediately stopped what he was doing and notified Saxon Weald.

“They asked: ‘Can you not just work around it?’, which I thought was just absolutely disgraceful really,” said Mr Smith.

“It’s not just what’s happening to me and my family - it’s what could have happened.

“I want them to realise it, to look at what could have happened because they haven’t done their jobs properly.”

When a sample was sent off for testing, it proved to be a white and brown mix.

‘Brown’ asbestos, sometimes known by the trade name Amosite, is regarded as one of the most dangerous types, and was among the first to be banned in the UK.

“I just want our complaint to be heard,” Mr Smith said, adding: “It’s not as if we’re moaning, groaning tenants who complain about every tiny little thing.”

He said they can’t afford to pay up front for legal help, but they’d be glad to hear from any lawyer who might be able to help.

Saxon Weald have been approached for a comment.