Campaigners from the support group, Mesothelioma and Asbestos Awareness Plymouth and South West (MAAPS) have warned of the dangers posed by a rundown hotel in Plymouth.

The Quality Hotel opened in May 1970 after taking 18 months to build. It was initially called the Mayflower Post House and at the time was described as “the finest hotel site in Europe” as it boasted beautiful sea views. The building is now abandoned and has fallen into a state of disrepair.

As the hotel was built in the late 1960s, it is though that a large amount of asbestos will be present within the unused building. Asbestos was used in many forms of construction due to its fire retardant properties up until it was finally banned in the UK in 1999.

The hotel changed hands a number of times and in January 2014 suddenly shutdown, closing its doors to guests and has not reopened since. In May 2015 a fire broke out due to arson, leaving the abandoned hotel in a very dangerous state.

Members of MAAPS are now issuing a warning to anyone who might be tempted to visit the derelict building. A spokeswoman for the group said;

“Many members of the public, especially the young, are unaware of the hazardous nature of asbestos. However, it probably represents the greatest danger to anyone who chooses to venture into an abandoned building such as The Quality Hotel in Plymouth.”

Due to the fire, it is likely that the interior of the hotel is now in a poor state of repair and this is when asbestos poses health risks. Asbestos fibres pose a significant danger to health when airbourne, resulting in potentially lethal consequences.

It is well documented that exposure to asbestos is hazardous to health and that even minimal exposure to asbestos puts people at risk of developing the incurable asbestos related cancer, mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma most commonly affects the lungs or abdomen, causing tumours to grow on the lining of the organs. There is a latency period of between 10 and 50 years from the time of exposure to asbestos to the development of symptoms of the condition which can include:

  • Shortness of breath;
  • Chest pain;
  • Unexplained weight loss;

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for mesothelioma and on average the life expectancy of sufferers following diagnosis is limited to 12 months on average.

Mesothelioma is a completely preventable condition as the only known cause is exposure to asbestos. MAAPS want to highlight the dangers of entering abandoned, derelict buildings, such as The Quality Hotel in Plymouth as asbestos is not always obvious and could pose a risk to others, not just those entering the building. A MAAPS spokeswoman said;

“These [asbestos] fibres cling to shoes and clothes which can then be taken home inadvertently putting others at risk.”

This week the local council visited the site and they are now starting legal proceedings against the site owners, Tamar Properties (Canterbury). They have failed to adhere to an ‘untidy land notice’ by the deadline of Monday 10th August 2015. The notice required the company to make repairs to windows, remove graffiti and remove any debris from the ground around the building. As these works were not carried out, the council will now seek to prosecute the owner.

The MAAPS campaign not only highlights the dangers of trespassing within derelict buildings, but also underlines the ongoing dangers that asbestos exposure in the general environment can cause.

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