Search

Camden pledges transparency for people returning to Chalcots Estate

PUBLISHED: 15:12 04 July 2017 | UPDATED: 13:56 05 July 2017

Chalcots Estate residents were urgently evacuated, although they may have been living in unsafe homes for years. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Chalcots Estate residents were urgently evacuated, although they may have been living in unsafe homes for years. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Councillors are promising to publish current and historic fire inspection reports following reports that resident’s safety fears were ignored for years.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said that officers will make systematic changes and vowed to publish the latest enhanced fire safety checks by the end of September at a meeting on Monday evening.

Speaking after a Camden Council meeting last night, a Burnham tenant told how she had reported the smell of gas in her flat several times in the last three years, but the information was not acted on.

Erusalem Araya, a mother of three, who tragically lost a friend in Grenfell Tower, believes her concerns were brushed under the carpet.

She said: “I smelt gas, but no one took any notice.”

Ms Araya added, “I threatened not to pay rent.”

When she reported a “strong smell of gas” as an emergency, the housing managers arrived, but only after two hours.

Labour Camden Council leader Georgia Gould told the meeting that she would appoint a director for residents safety, carry out enhanced fire safety checks on housing blocks and publish all future fire risk assessments.

She would also set up a borough-wide fire safety advisory panel led by tenants and leaseholders.

Cllr Gould will also publish historic reports and the fire assessment that led to evacuation ordered by the London Fire Brigade after finding faulty fire doors, exposed gas pipies, blocked stairways and missing internal walls.

Cllr Gould promised: “There can be no forgotten voices and no forgotten blocks.”

Her assurances come after the Ham&High published an editorial calling for greater transparency.

Following the meeting, Camden council has also committed to an independent review of the circumstances that required evacuation of the tower blocks and to improve fire safety in its buildings.

Cllr Gould said that there are three contractors working on the blocks “day and night”.

Responding to questions on when residents would be able to return, she said the first set could be back by the end of next week.

All work should be finished by July 23rd.

Cllr Theo Blackwell told the meeting that the council had already spent several millions on the Chalcots Estate evacuation.

This will come out of council reserves and includes payments on hotels, council staff time and repairs and remedial works at the blocks.

He believes there was an element of hotel price surging online as council staff booked rooms in the hours following the evacuation.

Lib Dem Cllr Flick Rea called for national changes in house building.

Fire safety should be considered as part of the whole plan, and not just left to later building regulations, she said.

Cllr Rea added that residents regularly came to her surgeries with photographs of “shoddy workmanship”.

Conservative Cllr Leila Roy said a number of residents were concerned about their security for when they returned.

The security gates have been removed from the building as part of the fire safety improvements.

Cllr Gould said that while the security gates needed to be removed, residents could have “extra safe doors” installed instead.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Yesterday, 17:39

The killers of Camden model Harry Uzoka have been jailed for a combined total of more than 60 years.

Yesterday, 14:33

High Court judge Sir Ross Cranston, who last week blocked Transport for London’s (TfL) plans to begin building the CS11 cycle superhighway in Swiss Cottage, has denied TfL permission to appeal his judicial review ruling.

Yesterday, 12:40

Seven months to the day after a single winter night saw two young men stabbed to death, Camden’s youth safety task force – led by Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer and Cllr Abdul Hai – last night recommended a series of measures to arrest the alarming upwards trend in youth violence in the borough.

Thu, 17:30

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Ham&High readers this week.

There are more than 3,000 homeless families housed by Haringey Council in temporary accommodation in the borough and more than another 1,000 housed outside the borough according to Trust for London.

Thu, 15:23

A woman from Temple Fortune turned have-a-go-hero and chased a pair of criminals – causing them to drop a wad of stolen cash – after an elderly woman was robbed at a nearby cashpoint.

Thu, 13:15

Haringey Police are appealing for infomration after a 40 year old woman was sexually assaulted on a Muswell Hill Bus.

Thu, 12:53

Two rogue swans rapidly regretted the decision to land on the Hampstead Heath ponds when the resident swan family chased them off the water and left them “a bit battered” on a grass verge.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Looking to get your child interested in a sport? Allianz Park, home to rugby union team Saracens, welcomes people of all ages to join their family of supporters and discover how their core values Honesty, Discipline, Humility and Work Rate underpin everything they do off and on the pitch.

As part of a major refurb, the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale has renamed its three new-look function rooms to reflect the geography and rich history of the area. The largest, perfect for weddings and large meetings, is named after a Hampstead subterranean river, The Westbourne.

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now