PUBLIC health concerns have been raised over renovation work at an empty shop premises on Wrexham high street.

The work is being undertaken at the former Burton store on the corner of Hope and High Street - with it set to become a Christian faith centre having been bought by the Diocese of St Asaph earlier year.

Plans set out by church leaders include worship space, training rooms, a kitchen and a community engagement space, as well as a base to support rough sleepers and children left hungry during the school holidays. And work is well underway to refurbish the three-storey property.

However, an Offa community councillor believes the work is proving to be a major health and safety concern.

Cllr Steven Vale told the Leader: “There is dust covering areas of the streets, and asbestos was used during the building of the premises.

“I’m concerned that asbestos-filled dust is being inhaled by both workers and members of the public.

“A woman came into my shop (Caroline’s Viennese Patisserie in Central Arcade) literally covered in dust, and I’ve seen near misses from falling debris - it’s disgraceful.”

The Leader:

Concerns have been raised about work being undetaken at the old Burton store in Wrexham

The Diocese of St Asaph claims all known traces of asbestos were removed from the premises earlier in year.

Mr Vale claims Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC) has passed the book on the issue to the Health and Safety Executive.

He said: “I’ve raised the issue with WCBC more than once and I’ve been told it’s not their problem.

“Well they should make it their problem before someone is seriously hurt. There’s falling masonry and asbestos dust clouds and the council has done nothing.”

A Wrexham County Borough Council spokesman said: “Mr Vale has raised some valid health and safety concerns and was correctly referred to the Health and Safety Executive who is the appropriate body to report such concerns to.”

A spokesman for the Diocese of St Asaph said: “Work is currently underway to refurbish and renovate the former Burton’s store on Hope Street and bring it back into use, having stood empty for many years. “The Diocese of St Asaph is committed to being a good neighbour during both the construction phrase and once the building re-opens next year and all relevant consents and permissions are in place for the work being carried out.

“All known occurrences of asbestos were removed from the former store earlier this year as part of enabling works, prior to the start of refurbishment.

“A skip and debris shoot are located in a fenced off area, segregated from pedestrians and the contractors are adopting suppression measures to control dust being generated as part of the ongoing works.

“The project has been notified to the Health and Safety Executive as per the requirements of Construction, Design and Management Regulations.”

However when approached by the Leader for comment, a spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said: “We can confirm this concern has not been raised with HSE.

“It is really important that any concerns are raised through the correct channels, so they are appropriately assessed.”