Monday, 26 June 2017

Tower Block Safety in Walthamstow: Update from Stella Creasy MP

In her Working for Walthamstow newsletter this week Stella Creasy MP reports

"Further to last week's e-newsletter I have had more updates from
Waltham Forest Council and local housing associations regarding the fire safety measures they have reviewed in our local tower blocks. To date, all the cladding tested by the Government in the light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy has failed safety testing, and there has been extensive discussion of this issue in parliament. 

Locally, Waltham Forest Council are updating residents via their website regarding the 21 blocks over the height of six storeys in Waltham Forest. They state the following: 

"We know that many people in the borough and across London have valid concerns about fire safety in high-rise buildings following the tragic incident at Grenfell Tower. The safety of residents and tenants should always be paramount for local authorities. A small number of tall buildings are under construction in the borough, including the Hill Residential scheme at 97 Lea Bridge Road. We are liaising closely with the developer and contractor through our Building Control team to ensure that design and construction maximises the safety of occupants. As a new-build development the installation of sprinkler systems will be required to comply with modern fire safety regulations. This development will not use the cladding system that was used at Grenfell Tower.

The major refurbishment of Lea Bridge House is being undertaken by Paradigm Housing through the contractor Rydon who completed the works at Grenfell House. The council is working closely with Paradigm to ensure the 10-storey building meets and exceeds mandatory safety regulations.

The project involves the refurbishment of the original 1960s residential block, with the addition of two four-storey wings. It does not involve the installation of external cladding. As part of the scheme fire prevention and safety measures will be implemented including a fire-suppression sprinkler system, a measure that exceeds current fire safety regulations for renovation of older properties, and the existing windows will be replaced with powder-coated aluminium frames that are far less combustible than the more traditional UPVC type.

It is important and right that we continue to provide high-quality, affordable housing for the residents and workers of the borough. To maintain the balance between housing and essential infrastructure such as parks, schools, shops and health centres we sometimes have no option but to build upwards. At the same time, we will keep a keen watch on the investigation into the Grenfell Tower disaster so that we can immediately implement any recommendations to maximise the safety of our residents."

In addition to the local authority, other Housing Associations are also reviewing the safety of their buildings. As part of this London and Quadrant have written to me regarding the Walthamstow Dog track site - now called Stadium Place- and state the following: 

"Our surveys have found that there is aluminium cladding on a block at Stadium Place. This cladding is being tested as a matter of urgency. We have employed security personnel who will patrol the block 24 hours a day, until we receive the results of the test. We have written to residents to let them know. We have also notified the fire authority. Our staff are on site to offer guidance and reassurance.

If the test results tell us that the materials pose a fire risk, they will be removed and replaced as soon as possible. If there is an immediate risk to our residents, we will move them to suitable alternative accommodation until we can resolve the problem."

Furthermore, I can also confirm that Waltham Forest Council are following up on residents concerns about the Travelodge next to Walthamstow Central Station and the Scene development on Walthamstow High Street. I will continue to update residents on the information I receive on these issues via this e-newsletter. 

Residents may also be interested in supporting this action along with other Walthamstow neighbours to help a nursery which was based in the Grenfell Tower - you can find more details here."
To subscribe to the Working for Walthamstow newsletter email Stella Creasy MP

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