Asbestos scare closes bank’s Stratford Centre branch

Stratford’s HSBC branch has been closed following an asbestos scare.

Traces of the deadly substance were discovered during a routine health and safety inspection at the Stratford Centre unit last week.

Bosses say they will not know how long the branch will remain closed until preliminary tests are completed later this week.

HSBC spokesman Mark Hemingway said: “Asbestos has been in various properties for a long time and it isn’t a problem unless it’s disturbed.

“We are carrying out tests to determine whether it has and as a precaution the branch is closed.

“Clearly we can’t take risks with the safety of our customers and staff.”

Staff will remain stationed outside to direct customers to other branches, he added.