Northern Ireland

Asbestos alert at Robinson leisure centre in Castlereagh

The Robinson Centre Image copyright bbc
Image caption The asbestos was found in an area of the centre not open to the public

The mayor of Castlereagh has said he hopes the closure of the Robinson leisure centre in east Belfast is a temporary measure.

The centre was closed on Friday after asbestos was found in hard-to-access areas.

The mayor, the DUP's Jack Beattie, said he did not think people should be alarmed.

He said the asbestos had been found in an area that was not open to the public.

"The (council) officer from Belfast, who are taking over this facility, had come in and found a small area somewhere not open to the public and he said there was some of this asbestos showing," he said.

"Our officers, not wanting to do the wrong thing, had decided in the afternoon that they would close it and further investigate it.

"The health and safety people will come in and have a look at it and then a report will come out."

In a statement on its website on Friday, Castlereagh Council said asbestos had been found "in a previously unrecorded and difficult to access area".

The asbestos was discovered during a building management survey.

The council said further survey work was ongoing and the Health and Safety Executive NI (HSENI) was working with them.

"As a precautionary measure, the council has taken immediate action to close the centre until the full results of the survey is known," the statement said.

"It should be noted that materials containing asbestos are commonly found in buildings of a similar age, however with regular monitoring and management the risk is negligible."

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