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
More than 80 people have refused to leave their homes on the fire trap Chalcots Estate during the urgent evacuation last night.
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.
Chalcots evacuation in pictures
Chalcots Estate residents were urgently evacuated, although they may have been living in unsafe homes for years. Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Residents leave the Taplow tower block Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Residents leave Chalcots Estate with pets Stefan Rousseau/PA
Residents leave a tower block on the Chalcots Estate as the building is evacuated Stefan Rousseau/PA
Residents were forced to leave their homes in Taplow and other buildings on 23 June Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
People arrive at Swiss Cottage Leisure Centre and Library which has been set up as a rest centre Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
“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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