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More than 80 residents have refused to leave Chalcots Estate, says Camden leader Georgia Gould

PUBLISHED: 10:28 24 June 2017 | UPDATED: 10:43 24 June 2017

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould speaking outside the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centrel. Picture David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould speaking outside the Swiss Cottage Leisure Centrel. Picture David Mirzoeff/PA Wire

More than 80 people have refused to leave their homes on the fire trap Chalcots Estate during the urgent evacuation last night.

Residents leave the Taplow tower block  Stefan Rousseau/PA WireResidents leave the Taplow tower block Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said if residents had not left their properties after being visited again by officials on Saturday, “it will become a matter for the fire service”.

This morning she told BBC that 83 residents have refused to leave as more than 700 flats were evacuated from four tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate last night.

Roger Evans, a resident of the Taplow block for the past three years, said he found out that his building was being evacuated after a friend saw it on the news and alerted him by text.

The 51-year-old, who has so far refused to leave his first-floor flat, said: “As far as I am concerned, nothing in that building has changed in the last few days, weeks, months or years.

“It was perfectly safe before, despite what they are saying now - I believe I am safe in there.”

He said he is “keeping his options open” but for now will be staying put, adding: “There may be greater pressure for me to get out, but things are changing on an hour-by-hour basis.”

Mr Evans said that, on top of the cladding, it has been discovered that the fire doors are not safe and secure, and alongside the padding around gas pipes, these “seem to be the area of concern” for the council.

Asked how he feels about why these issues have not been picked up before, he said: “It is very disconcerting it is only suddenly, now.”

He said a few of his neighbours on his floor have also stayed in their homes and that people are generally feeling “very distressed”

This morning hundreds of others were camped in the Swiss Cottage Leisure centre and library waiting as the council scrambled to find temporary accommodation nearby.

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