Call for safety audit of Vic' Way businesses

PUBLISHED: 10:05 29 May 2009 | UPDATED: 11:03 10 June 2010

FEARS that there could be unknown stocks of dangerous materials in businesses along Victoria Way, Exmouth which could put the public at risk have prompted calls for an urgent health and safety audit.

FEARS that there could be unknown stocks of dangerous materials in businesses along Victoria Way, Exmouth - which could put the public at risk - have prompted calls for an urgent health and safety audit.A fire at R and R Motors in February saw acetylene cylinders explode in the intense heat, forcing fire crews to set up a 200-metre cordon and evacuate hundreds from their homes and businesses.Exmouth Town Councillor Steve Gazzard told the Journal the fire revealed the council had no real idea what materials were being stored. He called for environmental health officers to investigate.He also criticised some companies for allegedly spraying items, such as cars and boat parts, in the open air, which he felt could cause a health hazard to residents and workers. Cllr Gazzard said: "Many months before the fire, residents and pedestrians said they were very concerned. I wrote a confidential report, setting out my concerns. The problem is that nobody really knows what kind of chemicals are being stored."A motion about Victoria Way will be debated at the town council's regeneration and general purposes committee on Monday.In a letter to the Chief Executive of East Devon District Council, Mark Williams, Exmouth Town Council Clerk John Wokersien wrote: "The motion recognises all the long-standing issues relating to these workshops and ... that they would be better located in other places. Also, concerns about some of the practices, which appear to be happening, which need further investigation."EDDC's Mr Williams said the town council's concerns had been forwarded to the head of environmental health, corporate director Karime Hassan and the head of planning, Kate Little, about the 'possible relocation' of some businesses.He added in a subsequent letter to the town council: "I will ask the enforcement team...to check which businesses...have the necessary planning consent...to remain. I am afraid this project will not be achieved in the short term, given our existing workload, but we will do what we can. "However, in dealing with any planning applications for a new employment land, we will bear in mind the potential demand moving these businesses would create.


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