Letter: Chalcots evacuation - four years on

Residents during the evacuation in 2017

Chalcots' residents during the evacuation in 2017 - Credit: PA Images

'No confidence' in towers cladding plan

Sayed Meah, Burnham resident; Brian Morrey, Burnham resident; Carl Perry, Dorney TRA, committee member; Anthony Royale, Bray ex-TRA chair; Nigel Rumble, Bray TRA, representative and DMC member; Mandy Ryan, Dorney TRA, secretary and Hasan Shah, Burnham TRA, chair and DMC member, write:

It is four years to the day (June 23, 2017) that we, Chalcots’ residents, were evacuated from our homes in the middle of the night, in the floodlights of the media storm, by Camden Council officers as a result of Camden requesting extended fire safety checks following the Grenfell tragedy several days earlier (Ham&High). 

Senior fire officers saw such serious communal area fire stopping issues in addition to having the flammable ACM composite cladding, they had no choice but to force evacuations - 3,500 people asked to leave their homes in four towers.

Tempers flared at the Chalcots Estate residents meeting. Picture: Abdul Hai

Tempers flared at the Chalcots Estate residents meeting. Picture: Abdul Hai - Credit: Archant

We are now awaiting the appointment of a new contractor to take responsibility for the final replacement of cladding and insulations to our homes, which will take another three to four years with collateral effects of Covid, and also the controversial replacement of windows with a new design and radiators that we did not want or ask for. We residents have great fears for the chaos, the disruption and that this final stage will create with invasion into every room of every flat here. 

We have no confidence in the project plans put out by Camden Council. Cllr Meric Apak, cabinet member for safer homes, claims that the council are consulting and involving residents. This is demonstrably not true. The vast majority of residents are not actively involved and do not agree with the plans. Camden have created so called “task and finish” groups and Camden appointed groups that are limited in scope and time and are not allowed to question design or the execution of any part of the management of the work in the project.  

This is one way “public relations” communication, and there are now no arenas for discussion and full participation as we had at the beginning of the project. We sadly have no confidence in Camden’s management ability to perform and execute simple maintenance tasks here and are therefore terrified that the management of this £100million project will bring serious health and safety issues into our homes.