Residents of Avon Street, Walney in Barrow fear that dilapidated garages may have exposed people to asbestos dust.

Disturbed asbestos particles can cause serious illness if inhaled, leading to scarring of the lungs and the incurable cancer mesothelioma.

Residents have noted that during the summer holidays children have been playing in the garages, which are also littered with potentially hazardous debris.

Maureen Slater, of Orion Terrace has been trying to get the land cleared for four years. She said: “I’ve approached councillors, the fire service, and environmental health. I got a residents’ petition and I submitted that to local MP John Woodcock, the fire service and police. Nothing has been done.”

Cumbria Asbestos Related Disease Support Group says urgent action should be taken to get the site cleared and warn the public. Having inspected the garages, Cards estimates 21 out of the 72 garages pose a risk of asbestos.

Julie Clarke, a member of the Cards steering group, said: “I first contacted Barrow Borough Council, environmental health and Furness Lettings in 2011 regarding asbestos sheeting and broken sheets lying in the allotments and garages and was informed it would be removed. Some of the sheets were taken and assurances were given that the garages were due to be repaired.

“None of this work was carried out. I have recently been approached by worried residents regarding these garages as local children are playing both on the broken roofs and inside the garages where broken asbestos and dust is lying.”

Furness Property Letting and Management, which represents the landlord of Avon Street garages, said steps had been taken to remove any potentially harmful asbestos. A contractor who specialises in the removal of asbestos started work on July 16.

Director of the company, Caroline Metcalfe said: “The landlord will be attending Avon Street in August to plan the schedule of works with the contractor to refurbish the remaining asbestos garage roofs.

“The contractor used specialises in removal of asbestos and has method statement, risk assessments in place and has undertaken training in asbestos awareness courses. I have again instructed the contractor to remove any asbestos off the site.”

If you or a family member have been affected by asbestos please contact us today on Freephone 0800 294 3065 or talk to us on live chat where we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.