Demolition of Chelmsford’s ugliest building delayed again over asbestos fears

The demolition of a building voted Chelmsford’s ugliest has been delayed for another two weeks amid discovery of unexpected asbestos.

Marrable House, previously expected to be demolished this week, is due to be replaced by a new development of 53 flats co-ordinated by Weston Homes.

But bulldozing the much-derided 1960s building, which has been subject to a string of developer applications, will have to wait as engineers battle to remove a potentially dangerous layer of materials.

Workers started tearing down the eyesore on Monday, but soon found a layer of asbestos behind external panels. The demolition team will now have to remove the asbestos internally, which is expected to take at least a fortnight.

The building will then be taken down floor by floor, quelling fears of nearby residents that explosives or a wrecking ball would be used to knock down the tower.

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Weston Homes plc wants to reduce the redundant and vandalised building to rubble for a new residential development surrounded by plush green lawns.

The building’s chequered past includes the parish council vetoing Murano Properties’ two care home plan in 2010, the city council rejecting Rubicon West’s 60 care flats plan later that year and when the council backed a six-storey care home plan in late 2011 the developer never followed through.

Speaking about the new development, Weston managing director Bob Weston said:

“I think the design looks fantastic. The thing that’s going to set it apart is the open space around it. It’s very green and I’m absolutely certain the complete development will be one to be proud of.”

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