Neighbours living on an estate with roof fire escapes are urging Camden Council not to shut them off while safety measures are not complete in their blocks.

Leaseholders and tenants living on the Holly Lodge Estate in Highgate have benefitted from access to the roof in the event of a fire for more than a century.

Many of the four and five-storey blocks in Oakeshott, Makepeace, and Langbourne Avenues are linked by fire escapes, which residents feel are a better option than waiting in their flats for the fire brigade.

At a meeting on September 21 Camden Council said that the roofs could no longer be used as fire escapes as they were "unsafe".

In July the Regulator of Social Housing said thousands of people had been left at risk after Camden Council failed to address fire safety failings in tenants' homes, leading the council to tighten up its fire scrutiny.

Lorna Russell, who lives in one of the flats, has urged the council to fix all the fire doors before locking any roof access.

She claims that of the 354 doors, 15 have yet to be replaced. 

"I am disappointed that despite essential fire safety works beginning in the spring 2021, several flats remain without fire resistant doors," she said.

"I strongly believe that the roof exits should not be closed until every flat has a fire safe door, to ensure the safety of all residents living on the estate."

However residents say that the council has begun to padlock these exits and a protest was due to take place this evening (October 18).

A Camden Council spokesperson said ensuring residents' safety was their "primary concern". 

"We’ve invested over £2million to improve fire safety at this estate, including installing new fire doors, improved lighting, and full alarm systems that are linked across all flats and communal areas," they added.

“We’ve undertaken several fire risk assessments at Holly Lodge Estate which identified that the roof top exits are not safe to use in the case of a fire – the London Fire Brigade have also issued a notice instructing us to close the exits.

“We are working hard to organise access for the remaining works, and residents who have not yet had their door replaced should arrange for the replacement at a convenient time for them.”