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Chalcots residents mull legal action against Camden Council over evacuation

PUBLISHED: 18:08 25 July 2017 | UPDATED: 18:19 25 July 2017

Dorney Tower on the Chalcots estate, which was one of four towers evacuated over fire safety concerns

Dorney Tower on the Chalcots estate, which was one of four towers evacuated over fire safety concerns

PA Wire/PA Images

Concerned Chalcots residents are consulting lawyers about the possibility of legal action against Camden Council over the sudden evacuation of their homes due to fire safety concerns.

They are demanding an independent inspection of the Chalcots tower blocks amid claims that as Camden Council move them back into their homes, much of the fire safety work has not been carried out properly.

This comes as Green councillor Sian Berry, who visited the residents on Friday, has written to Council Leader Georgia Gould and cllr Pat Callaghan expressing concerns about the safety of the tower blocks.

The work has been signed off, following a joint inspection by Lambeth Council building inspection officers.

But residents claim that work to fire doors on the upper floors of the Bray and Dornay tower blocks has not been completed and is “shoddy”.

Posting a video on the Facebook group Chalcots Estate Residents Info, Paul Urquhart, said: “I still do not feel safe or think objectively that we are safe. I have issues with the sign-off like everyone else does.

Another resident, Nevenka Martin, said: “The mind truly boggles. How can Camden in all honesty sign off our blocks as safe? What was the point of this whole exercise which has only caused an awful lot of distress, displacement, stress (which impacted on people’s health), frustration?”

Many residents have consulted the law firm Hodge Jones Allen with a view to taking legal action.

Cllr Berry said she visited the blocks after receving a number of concerned emails from residents.

She writes: “Throughout my visit, it was clear that people desperately want to go back to their homes, but don’t want to go back to the previous situation of uncertainty about their safety.”

The Highgate councillor also called on Camden Council to publish the enforcement notices - one for each block - issued by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) on 12 July, detailing the works to be carried out to ensure fire safety on the estate’s towers.

She also pointed out that residents were distrustful of fire safety reports being signed off by building control officers from other councils, namely Westminster and Lambeth, that have, she wrote, ‘similar problems with regeneration and refurbishment quality’.

A spokesman for the Council replied: “The London Fire Brigade publishes the notices in accordance with the applicable legislation. Any request to see a copy of a notice should be sent to the LFB as the relevant enforcing body.

We have however published the list of works which was included in the notice on our website for residents to see and the respective progress made. These are works which we had already agreed with the LFB to undertake, in a set timeframe, and which we had begun doing and are practically complete.”

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